NCP dispute: Govt issues Constitutional Council Ordinance angering Dahal

The Constitutional Council meeting on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, could not be formal for the want of quorum as Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota boycotted.

Kathmandu, December 15

The months-long dispute between two chairmen of the ruling Nepal Communist Party has apparently intensified on Tuesday as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s cabinet made President Bidya Devi Bhandari issue an ordinance that would offend Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

The President’s Office says the head of the state has issued the ordinance to amend the Constitutional Council Act as per the government’s recommendation.

Whereas a provision in the Act had required the council to have at least four members except the chairperson (the PM) to hold a meeting, the ordinance removes the provision and mentions the council can hold a meeting if a majority of the members including the PM are present.

The council has six members including the PM, but a member of the council, the House of Representatives deputy-speaker, has not been elected. It means Oli and two others can convene the meeting.

Oli’s move comes a few hours after House of Representatives Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota ‘boycotted’ the council meeting this morning, expressing his content over the PM’s working style. Apparently, it was a reflection of the party’s internal dispute as Sapkota was close to Pushpa Kamal Dahal when he was a member of the party before his election to the top legislative position.

Now, with the Act amended, Oli can convene the council meeting taking into confidence the chief justice, and the National Assembly chairman, who have already agreed to join him, even if Sapkota boycotts.

Although the main opposition party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba had attended the meeting in the morning, his Nepali Congress party has now objected to the ordinance and says Deuba will not join. But, it will not bar Oli.

Following the amendment, he has already called the council meeting for 5 pm today.

The move has angered pro-Dahal leaders who have been demanding Oli’s resignation from either the premiership or the party chairmanship for the past few months.

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