Former Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition KP Sharma Oli has criticised the government’s decision to register an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki. His party has been demanding that the government present its annual budget only after elections are over. Onlinekhabar recently talked to Oli about his party’s demands and the local elections. Excerpts:
So what did the Prime Minister tell you during the one-on-one conversation with him?
I told the Prime Minister that the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki has been brought with ulterior motives, and it should be withdrawn at the earliest. I also told him that the House cannot function until the government withdraws the impeachment motion. We know that the motion was not presented for it to be passed, it was presented to suspend Karki until her tenure expires.
What did the Prime Minister say?
He says he wants the motion to be tabled and everything done using a shortcut. He wants it done at the earliest. What does he mean by ‘at the earliest’. Is he talking about June 7 (the day Karki is to retire)? Does he want to drag the issue till then?
What is it that you object to in this case?
I have told him (the Prime Minister) that the motion has been brought to influence transitional justice. I have told him to withdraw the motion. An impeachment is not a simple issue. We can clearly see that it has been used to further political interests.
Supporters of the motion say that the Chief Justice acted against the principle of separation of power. What do you say to that?
It is the ruling alliance that has made a mockery of separation of power. That they are saying that the judiciary interfered in the government’s functioning is indicative of their undemocratic attitude.
The court annuls government decisions that are against the law. The judiciary will interfere, that is its job. If it were not to do so, we would not need the judiciary, and the government could itself run the courts. They think they should be above the judiciary.
Some of the judiciary’s decision may not be justified. One might feel that the judiciary has been biased. But what do we accept as the truth? In 1994, we were kicked out of government. The move was against the spirit of the constitution, but we did not propose that the then Chief Justice be impeached. We had the numbers to do so.
But we said we accepted the decision.
You said that some ulterior motives were behind the impeachment episode. Could you clarify?
Various ‘power centres’ have discussed the issue with the party leaders. What they have done is against the constitution and the democratic norms. That is why I have told them to withdraw the motion. We cannot accept a judiciary that is under the control of the government.
What will you do now?
Our take on this is clear. The motion has to be withdrawn. We cannot proceed with anything else until the motion is withdrawn.
The Bar Association is there to take up the issue..
What ‘bar’ is it? Is it the ‘bar’ people go to in the evening? These are questions the Nepali people want answers to. What is the bar doing? Those who would take to the streets to defend democracy are now keeping silent on the issue. Why can’t they speak?
Did you tell the Prime Minister that the budget must be postponed if the second round of elections are to be held on June 14?
Why should we postpone the budget? The constitution says the budget should be presented on May 29. Who is telling the Prime Minister that this rule can be suspended? Where does he get all these anti-constitutional ideas? I have told him not to even think about it.
So what can be done?
The budget cannot be postponed. We still have 20-22 days left for the budget deadline. What we are saying is that the the elections can be held before the budget is presented in Parliament. Why does the second round of elections have to happen during Ramadan? Ramadan is like Dashain and Tihar for Musims. They don’t even drink water during their fasting. Is the government saying that Muslims can’t contest elections? How can someone who has not even had a drop of water campaign in the summer heat?
To conclude, how do you think your party will fare in the elections?
We are in the game and we are in it for the win. We want to claim the gold medal. Other parties will fight for the silver and the bronze, but the UML only goes after gold medal. There is no competition when it comes to policy and ideology. The UML will win, and that is what is going to happen.
Published on May 5th, Friday, 2017 12:18 PM