The Lead: Now parliament can remove the monarchy by a two third majority if it finds the 240 year old feudal institution meddling with the election of constitution assembly election. The parliament yesterday passed a bill that has amended the constitution and added the new provision on monarchy. The Maoist has been demanding that the republic be declared by the parliament before the CA election while Nepali Congress maintains that the first meeting of the CA should decide the fate of monarchy.
By Yuvraj Acharya in the Kathmandu Post
KATHMANDU, June 13 – The Interim Parliament effected the second amendment to the five-month-old Interim Constitution on Wednesday, empowering parliament to abolish the 240-year-old institution of the crown, and deferring the constituent assembly poll till Mangshir (mid-December). The parliament at its meeting added a separate sub-clause to Article 159 of the Constitution that authorizes the interim legislature to abolish monarchy by a two-third majority.
The government is to table a motion for the abolition of the monarchy if the cabinet concludes that the king is creating serious obstacle to constituent assembly polls. No authority except the cabinet will have the power to decide whether or not the king is creating such an obstacle.
Besides the provision on abolishing the monarchy, parliament also included a new clause for the removal of the prime minister through a parliamentary vote. One fourth of the members in parliament can table a motion of no-confidence against the prime minister, up to twice a year, and summon a special session for this purpose.
The amendment has made it mandatory for the prime minister to summon a special session within 15 days of such a motion being tabled. Tabling a motion for abolition of the monarchy was one of the major differences among the ruling parties until the 11th hour and the difference hinged on who should determine whether the king is conspiring against the polls.
Further clarifying Article 155 of the constitution, the amendment made Supreme Court justices and ambassadors subject to parliamentary hearings before their appointment. The government had proposed to exempt justices and ambassadors from attending such hearings but lawmakers in a special committee, formed to study all amendment proposals and submit a report to the House, rejected the government proposal.
Under an amendment to Article 154, the Cabinet may ask the Constituency Delimitation Commission to review its report (for one time) if it finds any technical errors.
The amendment added a new clause (57A) to provide for an opposition bench in parliament, but a separate law is required for the opposition bench to come into existence. The Rastriya Prajatantra Party protested the provision and demanded that an opposition bench should be guaranteed by the constitution itself, and not by a separate Act. But its members did not vote against the Bill.
Altogether 281 members in the 329-member parliament voted for the amendment while two voted against. Pari Thapa and Nava Raj Subedi of People’s Front Nepal voted against the Bill, saying that the amendment fails to address the country’s current problems.
Leaders from all the ruling parties said the amendment was a historic leap forward in Nepal’s parliamentary history since the amendment has made parliament capable of even deciding the future of the monarchy. The parties last year had signed an agreement on deciding the monarchy’s fate at first session of the constituent assembly.
The amendment came into effect immediately after Speaker Subas Nembang authenticated it.
Parliament on March 9 effected the first amendment to the Constitution, which was promulgated on January 15. The first amendment determined the future model of governance as “federal” and expressed commitment to ensuring an equal share for all ethnic minorities and backward communities in all state mechanisms. It also formed a constituency delimitation commission to redraw electoral constituencies.