Speaker Sapkota returns controversial nominations to Constitutional Council, begins another round of conflict

Agni Prasad Sapkota assumes his office as the Speaker of House of Representatives, in Kathmandu, on Monday, January 27, 2020.

Kathmandu, January 31

The House of Representatives Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota has returned the decision regarding nominations of various officials at constitutional bodies to the Constitutional Council.

His move has begun a new round of conflict in the Nepali politics that is already in turmoil since Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives.

Sapkota, who has been opposing Oli’s decision to dissolve the House, wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, also the ex-officio secretary of the council led by Prime Minister Oli, stating the House returned the nominations sent to the Parliament Secretariat for a parliamentary hearing.

His move comes at a time when the period of 45 days since the House received the nominations is ending. The laws have it that the nominations are considered approved if the Parliamentary Hearing Committee does not make any decision regarding them within 45 days.

The council meeting held on December 15, 2020, had nominated various persons for 45 vacant positions at constitutional bodies.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had issued an ordinance to convene the meeting even in absence of the House of Representatives Speaker and the main opposition leader on December 15. Besides Oli, Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Rana and National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Timilsina had attended the meeting that day.

After strong protests inside the Nepal Communist Party, Oli had said he would withdraw the ordinance.

However, the nominations were made public after President Bidya Devi Bhandari ordered the dissolution of the House, endorsing Oli’s recommendation.

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