What next as Lamichhane steps down from the ministerial position and party president ?

Published On: January 28, 2023 08:53 AM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

KATHMANDU, Jan 27: Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane on Friday stepped down from the ministerial position after the Supreme Court stripped his post of Member of Parliament (MP) on the grounds of his citizenship certificate.

His resignation came shortly after the Supreme Court found him guilty over the passport and citizenship case. The court declared him ineligible to remain as an MP as he was yet to reapply for Nepali citizenship certificate after he renounced his foreign citizenship.

Lamichhane will also have to step down from the post of the president of Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), which he formed seven months ago after quitting his media career.  Talking to media persons after the apex court’s verdict, Lamichhane said that he will abide by the verdict of the apex court, although he complained that the court’s verdict had rendered him ‘stateless’. 

This rather surprising twist in the country’s politics has brought forth a number of questions among many as to what happens next, especially his political career. Although the apex court dismissed him as a Member of Parliament (MP) and a cabinet minister with deputy prime ministerial portfolio on the ground of citizenship issue, legal experts say Lamichhane can apply to get a new citizenship certificate and contest the by-election that the Election Commission (EC) may announce to fill the vacant position in his constituency in Chitwan -2.

Experts argue that Lamichhane is eligible to apply for a Nepali citizenship certificate as he has already renounced the US citizenship he received before. However, he will have to furnish proof of his move to renounce foreign citizenship while applying for the citizenship certificate as the apex court in its verdict has not taken into account his claim that he had already renounced his foreign citizenship.

Earlier, Lamichhane had claimed that he had submitted proof of the renouncement of his foreign citizenship to the Department of Immigration. Existing legal provisions will not bar him from contesting the by-election to be held in Chitwan-2 after he acquires citizenship certificate again following all due procedures unless he is proven guilty in other cases including acquiring passport through the citizenship he renounced earlier.

It may be recalled that a complaint has been filed against Lamichhane for holding dual citizenship and passport—something Nepal’s law recognizes as illegal. The apex court verdict has paved the way to initiate investigation on those cases as well.

Lamichhane was forced to resign from the ministerial position after his post as a lawmaker was scrapped on grounds of citizenship. He has also lost the position as president of RSP. However, acquiring citizenship again will pave him the way to return to the positions he was forced to quit on Friday.

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