A group of women members of the provincial assembly of Province 3 pose for photo outside the Regional Education Directorate Office in Hetauda, Makawanpur after their swearing-in on Sunday. Dormani Paudel as the eldest member of the assembly administered the oath to 109 provincial assembly members.
A milestone for federalism
KATHMANDU, Jan 22: In a significant move toward implementing the federal set up as envisioned by the new constitution promulgated in September 2015, the newly-elected members of the provincial assemblies in all seven provinces took the oath of office and secrecy on Sunday.
This has paved the way for forming provincial governments and provincial assemblies, the legislative bodies in the provinces. Traditionally, unitary Hindu Nepal was declared federal after the 2006 popular uprising overthrew the centuries-old monarchy. The interim parliament formed after the successful Peoples' Movement-II had declared Nepal as a federal democratic republic.
The new constitution has divided the country into seven provinces. As part of implementing the constitution, three sets of elections including the one to provincial assemblies were conducted in November and December, last year.
Despite protests in some provinces over the temporary provincial capitals, the recently-appointed governors of the provinces administrated the oath of office and secrecy to the newly-elected members of the provincial assemblies amid special functions in the temporary capitals of the provinces.
Since the speakers and deputy speakers of the provincial assemblies are yet to be elected, the governor in each province swore in the eldest member who in turn administered the oath of office and secrecy to the remaining members. As per the Provincial Assembly Election Act, the eldest member has to administer the oath of office and secrecy to the other members if the speaker and deputy speaker of the provincial assembly is yet to be elected.
Of the total 550 provincial assembly members in the seven provinces, 545 took the oath of office and secrecy on Sunday. Three PA members from Province 4 and two from Province 7 didn't attend the oath-taking ceremony. Dipak Manange, who is wanted by the police, was also among the absentees.
In the swearing-in ceremony held at Birendra City Hall in Biratnagar, the temporary capital of Province 1, Governor Govinda Bahadur Tumbahang administrated the oath of office and secrecy to the eldest provincial assembly member Om Prakash Sirabagi. Then, 73-year-old Sirabagi administered the oath of office to other 92 members of the assembly in the presence of Governor Tumbahang. Assembly members attended the swearing-in ceremony wearing various ethnic dresses.
Members of the provincial assembly of Province 2 also took the oath of office and secrecy amid a ceremony in Janakpur, the temporary capital of the province. Governor of the province, Ratneswar Lal Kayastha, administered the oath of office and secrecy to the eldest assembly member Lagan Lal Chaudhary,75, at a function held at the meeting hall of the Janakpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Then Chaudhary administrating the oath of office and secrecy to other 106 members of the provincial assembly.
Chaudhary, who was sworn in Nepali language, also administrated the oath of office in Nepali language. However, the provincial assembly members took their oath in Nepali, Maithali, Bhojpuri and Hindi languages, according to Chief District Officer Dilip Kumar Chapagain. Of the total 107 members in the provincial assembly, 47 members took their oath in Maithali language, 25 in Bhojpuri, 24 in Nepali and 11 in Hindi language. After the members demanded to take oath in their respective mother languages, the District Administration Office had made necessary arrangements.
After the swearing-in ceremony was over, Governor Kayastha said that the first session of the provincial assembly will be held at the Teachers Training Center in Janakpur on February 4. Of the total members, 64 members are elected under the first-past-the-post system and 43 under the proportional representation system.
Governor Anuradha Koirala administered the oath of office to 110 provincial assembly members amid a special function at the Province Secretariat of Hetauda, the temporary capital of the province. Koirala administered the oath of office to the senior-most member Dor Mani Paudel. After that, 71-year-old Paudel swore in other 109 members. Most of the members were present in daura surwal .
In the province, Governor Baburam Kuwar administered the oath of office and secrecy to the senior-most provincial assembly member Janak Lal Shrestha in a hall of the Regional Administration Office in Pokhara, the temporary capital of the province. After that, 67-year-old Shrestha swore in the other 57 members. Of the total 60 members, three members didn't take their oath.
Members of the provincial assembly of Province 5 were administered the oath of office and secrecy amid a special ceremony at the Butwal Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hall. Governor Umakanta Jha administrated the oath to the eldest member Balaram Sharma Pokharel, who is 87 years old. After Pokharel was sworn in, he administered the oath to the other 86 members in the presence of Governor Jha.
All 40 members of the provincial assembly of Province 6 took the oath of office and secrecy amid a ceremony in Sukhet, the temporary capital of the province. The eldest member Himbahar Shahi was sworn in by Governor Durga Keshar Khanal and then 69-year-old Shahi administered the oath to the remaining 39 members while Khanal witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.
Governor Mohan Raj Malla administered the oath of office and secrecy to the eldest provincial member Dibyaswori Shah. After that, Shah swore in other 51 members of the assembly. Of the total 53 PA members, 51 took their oath. PA members Bharat Bahadur Khadgi of Doti and Chun Kumari Chaudhary didn't attend the oath-taking ceremony. After the ceremony, the assembly members pledged to work for the development of the province.
(Complied with inputs from district correspondents in the seven provinces)