KATHMANDU, April 21: The main opposition, Nepali Congress (NC), has denounced the government's move to introduce two separate ordinances to bring amendments in the Political Parties Act, 2017 and the Constitutional Council (Works, Duties and Procedure) Act, 2010. The party has concluded that the move indicates 'bad omen' for the country's democratic constitution.
A meeting of the NC's office bearers held on Tuesday said the promulgation of new ordinances to make it easy to split political parties at this hour of national crisis caused by the COVID-19 is not only contradictory but a conspiracy to foil the constitution. "While denouncing this tendency, the office bearers' meeting has demanded the government to withdraw both the ordinances," said a press statement issued by the NC.
The NC has decided to protest against the government's move to introduce the controversial ordinances that seek to weaken the spirit of democratic constitution. While criticising the government for not putting all its efforts in the fight against the COVID-19, the NC has also urged all other political parties, civil society organizations, mass media and all ordinary people to stand against the move taken by the government.
The ordinance introduced to amend Constitutional Council Act makes it possible to convene a meeting of the Constitutional Council even without the participation of the main opposition party leader. The Constitutional Council headed by the Prime Minister takes decisions on constitutional appointments.
NC said the constitution has made a provision to keep the main opposition party leader as a member of the Constitutional Council with an intention to ensure common ownership of all political parties in all the appointments in constitutional bodies. "But the ordinance related to the Constitutional Council has ended that spirit of the constitution and dignified role of the Constitutional Council itself," the party said in the statement.
The ordinance introduced to amend the Political Parties Act, 2017 paves way to split the party if the dissenting faction is able to garner 40 percent of the total strength either of the party's Central Committee or the Parliamentary Party Committee. This will bring amendments in the existing provisions that make it mandatory for the dissenting faction opting to split the party to have 40 percent strength in both the party's central committee and parliamentary party committee.
The NC said that the amendment brought in the Political Parties Act has paved way for a fresh round of political instability in the country. "While keeping in mind the [political] stability, some special provisions were introduced while drafting the constitution. But the ordinance related to provisions of political parties has finished that spirit of the constitution to pave way for instability," it said in the statement. "The decision to introduce these provisions to make it easy to split any political party at a time when there is a need to fight unitedly against the COVID-19 is contradictory as well as conspiratorial."
In a separate statement, NC leader Dr Shekhar Koirala has also condemned the government’s decision to introduce the controversial ordinances. The latest move of the government has raised questions of its intention to finish parliamentary democratic system, NC leader Koirala said, these unfortunate decisions show that the government had not only turned insensitive to people's concerns, but also lost its restraint.
Koirala has also taken strong exception to the decision of President Bidya Devi Bhandari to endorse the ordinances within hours after the cabinet endorsed the decision. "The move taken by the government and the decision of the President to authenticate the ordinance in haste has sent a message that the head of the state is just a puppet of someone or a faction within a party. I appeal the government to make course corrections to move ahead by immediately withdrawing the ordinances that go against the spirit of the constitution," Koirala said in the statement.