Prime Minister Oli during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Photo courtesy: Surya Thapa, press advisor to Prime Minister Oli.
KATHMANDU, Dec 15: The government on Tuesday introduced an ordinance to amend the existing Constitutional Council (Functions, Duties, Powers and Procedures).
With the new ordinance in place, the CC meeting can convene and make decisions even if there are only three members present.
The previous rules required at least five members to be present in the meeting to take any decision. Currently, only the post of deputy speaker is vacant in the six-member CC as parties have failed to elect a new deputy speaker.
The government's decision to introduce the new ordinance comes after the CC meeting was postponed twice — on Sunday and Tuesday (today) — as the Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Prasad Sapkota skipped the meeting. The speaker's absence resulted in the lack of quorum in the CC meeting.
As per the erstwhile Constitutional Council Act, the council would be headed by the prime minister and its members included the leader of the main opposition, speaker of the House of Representatives, chairman of the National Assembly, deputy speaker of the lower house and law minister as members.
The ordinance was issued by President Bidya Devi Bhandari earlier this afternoon in line with Article 114 (a) of the constitution upon the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.
As Speaker Sapkota decided not to attend the CC meeting, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli called an emergency cabinet meeting this afternoon and decided to recommend to the president to introduce the ordinance. Sources said that cabinet ministers were also not aware of this development in advance.
Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Baluwatar Tuesday afternoon.
With Speaker Sapkota refusing to join the CC meeting, Prime Minister Oli rescheduled the meeting for 5 pm today.
According to sources, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba is likely to skip the meeting, opposing the government's decision to introduce the ordinance relating to CC procedure.
Meanwhile, the intraparty rift in the ruling Nepal Communist (NCP) is expected to deepen further as Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the executive chairperson of the party, is resolutely opposing the ordinance.