President may authenticate ordinance today

Published On: December 29, 2017 05:30 AM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

KATHMANDU, Dec 29: The ongoing political deadlock over the formation of the National Assembly is likely to be resolved soon. 

Highly-placed political sources said President Bidya Devi Bhandari has made up her mind to authenticate the National Assembly formation ordinance recommended by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba sometime very soon. "The president is likely to authenticate the ordinance without further delay. It is likely even tomorrow [Friday]," said a  source on condition of anonymity. 

The ordinance recommended by Prime Minister Deuba has a provision for electing National Assembly members through single transferable votes. The ordinance has been pending at the President's Office for over two months as President Bhandari has demurred for lack of a political consensus. 

As the political parties are at odds whether to adopt a majority-based electoral system or the single transferable vote, President Bhandari held a series of consultations with the top leaders of major political parties over the past few days.  

While the Nepali Congress (NC), Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have stood clearly in favor of the single transferable vote as proposed in the ordinance, the CPN-UML has rooted for a majority-based system. The CPN (Maoist Center) that initially favored the majority-based system has lately leaned toward the single transferable vote. 

Earlier on Thursday, Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a nearly 90-minute meeting with President Bhandari over the issue of the ordinance. During a meeting of his party afterward,  Dahal proposed finding a political settlement for the dispute surrounding the electoral system.

Talking to Republica, a senior UML leader said they had received information that the President was likely to authenticate the ordinance any time now. "We have already drawn the attention of the President regarding our position. But the president in her capacity as head of state is free to take her own decision. The position the UML has maintained on the voting system won't change," the leader said, asking not to be named.
The authentication of the ordinance will pave the way for the formation of the new parliament and the new government. The Election Commission (EC) has remained reluctant to allocate seats in parliament under proportional representation, delaying the formation of the full parliament that comprises both the House of Representatives and the National Assembly.

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