From the Kathmandu Press: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Major Nepali and English newspapers published from Kathmandu on Wednesday have prioritised issued related to results of recent provincial and federal parliamentary elections. While counting of votes under the first-past-the-post system has been over and almost half votes under the proportional representation system have been counted, the newspapers have analysed likely composition of federal and provincial parliaments. Like yesterday, news reports about new government formation at the centre and in provinces and the government preparation to name provincial capitals and province chiefs have also received significant attention.


Legislative cost to increase threefold in federal Nepal

File image: The Parliament building of Nepal

Nagarik and Republica say the government has to bear a heavy cost to operate bicameral Parliament at the centre and unicameral provincial assemblies in seven states. The reports say that the total cost in legislative affairs is likely to be three times the present cost of Parliament.

The government had spent Rs 1.4 billion to run Parliament in one year; but now it needs as much as Rs 4.25 billion, Parliament Secretariat’s spokesperson Bharat Raj Gautam has been quoted in Nagarik. While there were 601 lawmakers in the dissolved Parliament; there will be total 884 lawmakers now, including 275 of House of Representatives, 59 of National Assembly and 550 of provincial assemblies.

Republica says Rs 1 billion is needed every year to only salary and perks of these legislators. Meanwhile, the report adds that the national treasury will also have to bear perks of provincial chief ministers and ministers until the provinces generate their own resources.

Law on National Assembly yet to be finalised

President Bidya Devi Bhandari

The new government is likely to be formed after the elections of National Assembly only, reports Nagarik. The report claims a government cannot be formed without giving the full shape to federal Parliament, and the federal Parliament does not get the full shape without its Upper House (the National Assembly).

But, the law to hold the elections is yet to be finalised, according to Kantipur.

The report says after major political parties failed to forge consensus on the election system, the draft law is pending at the President’s Office. Earlier, the government had failed to endorse the law from Parliament due to the debate and decided to ask the President to issue an ordinance. But, the parties still have differences over the election model, due to which the President has been unable to issue the law, the newspaper informs.

New faces have stronger presence in Parliament

Republica and Naya Patrika report that nearly half of lawmakers elected under the first-past-the-post system for House of Representatives are new faces.

In the 275-member House of Representatives, 165 get elected under the FPTP system; and 67 first-timers have been elected lawmakers under the system, according to Naya Patrika. Final results from one constituency are yet to be declared, but both front-runners of the constituency—Bijay Kumar Gachhadar of Nepali Congress and Bhagawati Chaudhary of CPN-UML–are former lawmakers, the report adds.

Most of the new lawmakers (39) belong to the CPN-UML, followed by 11 of CPN-Maoist Centre and eight of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, according to Republica lead story.  The report adds that most of the first-timers have breached the strongholds of heavyweights or multi-time lawmakers of major parties.

‘Resham Chaudhary can be arrested anytime’

File: Resham Lal Chaudhary

As the alleged mastermind of two-year-old Tikapur killing, Resham Lal Chaudhary, has been elected a lawmaker from Kailali-1, Nepal Police has said it is ready to arrest him, reports The Kathmandu Post. The national police organisation’s spokesperson Manoj Neupane says Chaudhary is their “most-wanted” criminal and police personnel are looking form him.

Meanwhile, legal experts have said police can arrest him anytime, reports The Himalayan Times. Even if he gets arrest, he will remain a Member of Parliament since he is only an accused, not a convict, according to the report.


Former bureaucrats, social workers eye province chief posts

File image: Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

As the government is preparing to appoint province chiefs (governors) in seven provinces, former bureaucrats have intensified lobbying to get top-position appointments, according to Annapurna Post. Those interested in the positions include former Chief Secretary Bhojaraj Pokharel, former secretaries Madhav Regmi and Namina Singh, social worker Anuradha Koirala among others. The government has approached educations Kedar Bhakta Mathema and Suresh Raj Sharma, but both are yet to give a concrete answer to the government, according to the report.

Deuba unlikely to resign from Congress helm

While calls have been more vocal for leadership handover in the Nepali Congress party after its worst election debacle, the party chief Sher Bahadur Deuba is unlikely to resign, reports The Kathmandu Post in its lead story.

Quoting leaders close to him, the report says that Deuba is also not in any mood to call a special convention immediately as demanded by some leaders including Gagan Thapa, Bhimsen Das Pradhan and Rajan KC.

Even Deuba is yet to make any public statement on the party’s worst drubbing ever.


Supreme Court orders govt to take initiatives against ‘shamanism’

File image: Supreme Court of Nepal

In response to a writ related to a murder case, the Supreme Court has recently ordered the government to take initiatives to end the practice of shamans (dhami jhankris), who claim to heal various illnesses, reports Annapurna Post.

A division bench of justices Kedar Prasad Chalise and Ananda Mohan Bhattarai made the order in response the writ filed in relation to the murder of Thegani Devi Mahato of Baghauda in Chitwan district.

The verdict reads that the shamans have been exploiting general public on the basis of superstitions.

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