KATHMANDU, July 17: Most of the lawyers who were invited by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at his official residence at Baluwatar to discuss the constitutional provisions on the formation of a new government said that no new government could be formed as per Article 298 of the constitution, but suggested that the way to forming a new government could be cleared through a constitution amendment, or a parliamentary resolution, or through invocation of the provision removing constitutional hurdles.
According to advocate Tikaram Bhattarai, there was almost unanimous understanding that a new government could not be formed as per Article 298. However, legal experts also opined that a government reduced to a minority cannot function until the next election.
“There was a common understanding that the constitutional provisions have created confusion and hurdles in forming the new government. We have suggested to the PM to pave the way for the formation of a new government through political consensus if his government is reduced to a minority,” said Bhattarai.
“We basically suggested three options -- amending Article 298, endorsing a resolution through parliament or removing the constitutional hurdles through a presidential order. These could be the options for paving the way for the formation of a new government,” he added.
According to one advocate present at the meeting, advocates Biswakanta Mainali and Gobinda Sharma Bandi suggested to the PM to seek a political solution rather than seeking confrontation while Niranjan Thapa suggested that the PM go to court for a judicial review of the constitutional provisions.
According to advocate Bhattarai, PM Oli said that he would not be an obstacle in forming a new government in line with the constitution. “I will not overstep the constitutional provisions. I will not be an obstacle to forming a new government in line with the constitution,” Bhattarai quoted the PM as saying.
However, advocate Sunil Kumar Pokharel, the only lawyer from the democratic (pro-Nepali Congress) group present at the meeting, opined that there was no constitutional hurdle to forming a new government.
“I said to the PM clearly that Clauses 10 and 13 of Article 298 envisaged new government formation and a new government could be elected in line with Clause 3 of the same Article,” said Pokharel.
“I also said to the PM that he cannot dissolve parliament constitutionally and suggested to him not to think along those lines,” he added.
Earlier on Saturday, leaders of the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Center), who have registered a no confidence motion against the PM in parliament, consulted legal experts to discuss the issue of forming a new government. The legal experts present at the meeting said there was no constitutional hurdle to forming a new government under Article 298.