KATHMANDU, Jan 13: With the date of the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the race has started among the UML leaders to run for the Speaker. The Parliament Secretariat is going to make a schedule for the election to be held on January 19, and fix the time for submitting nominations till January 18. In the House of Representatives, the Speaker will be elected with the support of the majority of MPs.
Since the new ruling alliance has decided to give the post of Speaker to the UML, one of the leaders of the UML has to be nominated for the post. They are lobbying with party Chairman KP Oli for this. Sources said that the race for Speaker has started with Prithvi Subba Gurung, Raghuji Panta, Bidya Bhattarai, Chhabilal Bishwakarma and some other leaders preparing to run for the crucial post.
Earlier, there was talk of making Deputy Secretary General of CPN (Maoist Center) Gurung, who is also the former chief minister of Gandaki Province, the new Speaker, but the UML leaders have started alleging that former speaker Subhash Nemwang is hell-bent on preventing another person from the indigenous communities to become the Speaker.
Secretary Bishwakarma's name is also being discussed for the post, stating that Gurung withdrew after not getting a positive signal from within the party. After stopping Gurung, Nemwang put forward the name of Bishwakarma, it is said that the party leaders including Shankar Pokharel may put forward the name of Devraj Ghimire as the future Speaker. Sources said that party Chairman Oli is preparing to decide on the candidate for the president and speaker at the same time.
After the Maoist Center got the Prime Minister, CPN-UML is set to get the other important posts such as President and Speaker of the HoR.
"After deciding who will become the President and the Speaker from the UML, the work will proceed toward the expansion of the Council of Ministers," said the source. On the other hand, the Unified Socialist Party with the support of the Nepali Congress is also ready to run for the Speaker, but according to the latest developments, it has not been decided whether to run for the Speaker, sources said.
Although the NC proposed to hold the Speaker's election on January 23, due to UML's pressure, the election is scheduled to be held on January 19. However, since there is no possibility of the new alliance breaking up immediately, the opposition alliance will pick a candidate for the Speaker just for formality. For that, instead of the leader of the Unified Socialist who has been appointed earlier, sources say that preparations are being made to pick a leader who does not have a long political background. However, in the all-party meeting convened on January 6, when NC Chief Whip Ramesh Lekhak proposed to hold the Speaker's election on January 23, UML suspected that the proposal was made with the intention of breaking the alliance.
After the Prime Minister took the vote of confidence on Tuesday, UML held discussions with senior member Pashupati Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana to advance the process of election of the Speaker. The UML has become suspicious of the new alliance since it came to know that the Nepali Congress could try to break the new alliance by giving a vote of confidence to Prime Minister Dahal. A leader said that even though the Nepali Congress and the Unified Socialist and Loktantrik Samajwadi, who have given a vote of confidence to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, are in the process of breaking the new alliance, they will not do so until the election of the Speaker.