…with a majority. But Nepal is not a republic yet.
Update: The parliament passes left parties’ joint motion on republic declaration tabled by the CPN-UML after the CPN-Maoist and a few fringe left parties supported the proposals. The declaration seeks the Interim Legislature-Parliament’s directive to the government to immediately determine all necessary procedures to proclaim the country a republic and to take concrete steps in this regard. The proposal also seeks a new date for the CA elections after finding out the reason as to why the election could not be held on the previous dates. The special session has also endorsed the Maoist proposal for a fully proportional representation (PR) system for the Constituent Assembly elections. The proposal was backed by the UML and some other left parties in the parliament. Nepali Congress voted against both proposals.
These parliamentary approvals (with simple majority) won’t have constitutional validity because the republic can only be declared by two-third majority of the parliament. Same applies with the fully proportional system because that’s been stated in the constitution and the constitution can only be amended by two-third majority.
Earlier in a super dramatic move, the Maoists had withdrawn their motions that they had tabled in the special session of the House calling for an immediate declaration (and implementation) of the republic order in Nepal by the parliament and using the fully proportional voting method in the election of Constituent Assembly. They have decided to support the motions tabled by the CPN UML, an amendment to their proposal: declaration of republic after the CA elections and elections be held on fully proportional method.
Background: The Maoists had tabled two motions in this special session of the parliament. The first motion called for an immediate declaration (and implementation) of the republic order in Nepal by the parliament while the other motion called for using the fully proportional voting method in the election of Constituent Assembly.
Prime Minister’s party the Nepali Congress was firm on its stand that the country should be proclaimed a republic by the parliament but the decision should be endorsed only by the first meeting of the elected Constituent Assembly, the idea that the party floated only two days ago in its late ditch effort to avoid voting. NC would not compromise on the mixed proportional electoral system that the parties have already agreed upon.
CPN UML, the third largest party in the parliament with one seat less than the Maoist, had originally brought the idea of fully proportional system several months ago when the Maoists happily agreed for the mixed proportional system. Being a communist party, UML also favors the republican motion but it had tabled separate proposal amending the Maoist’s proposal hoping to be the middle ground for the NC and the Maoist. UML had registered two motions in parliament on Oct. 15 as to amend Maoist proposals that said the country can be declared a republic after the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and that the elections should be held on proportional representation.
Parties worked hard to avoid the voting in the parliament which, they feared, would further worsen the already deteriorating relationship between NC and the Maoist. They lengthen the special parliamentary session to provide more time for the leaders to solve the issue through conscious. That couldn’t happen because both parties were firm on their stands.
Today: Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, while responding to the Maoist proposals in today’s session of the House, presented the government’s and his party’s view on the republic agenda. “The whole nation is a republic now,” he said. He also talked about right procedures and stressed on the need of holding the CA election as soon as possible so that the country could formally be turned into a republic. Koirala also welcomed the voting as a democratic exercise and thanked the Maoists for having faith in such practice.