The Legislature-Parliament avatar of the Constituent Assembly today endorsed the bill seeking to extend the term of the CA by six more months. This is the fourth extension of the CA term. Like it was in August when the CA was extended for three months, this time too there was not much drama (inside the CA of haggling by the politicians and outside the CA hall of protesters shouting against the extension). But the atmosphere was entirely different back in May when the CA was extended for three months amidst chaos.
Of the 508 lawmakers present at the House session, 505 voted in favour of the bill seeking amendment to the Interim Constitution that would pave way for extending the CA term, while three lawmakers voted against the bill. The government on Thursday tabled a bill on the 11th amendment to the Interim Constitution proposing a six-month extension beyond the November 30 deadline.
For the record: The Legislature-parliament (which is the non-constituent making part of the Constituent Assembly that also works as parliament) today extended the term of the CA by another three months. This extension comes a day after Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai was elected the 35th Prime Minister of Nepal. But these two developments are unrelated. The proposal to extend the CA was tabled by the Jhalanath Khanal-led cabinet that was replaced today by Baburam’s two member cabinet. In fact, the newly elected Prime Minister, and his Maoist party, wanted the CA to be for six months. The current CA term was due till This is the third extension of the CA that was originally elected for two years in May 2008. It was extended for a year in 2010 and for another three months in May 28. The term was extended by amending the Interim Constitution by a two-thirds majority. 541 members of the CA were present for the voting. 537 voted for the amendment proposal, 4 against it.
After hectic parleys late into Saturday night and wee hours of Sunday (today), the political parties struck a five-point deal, paving the way for a three-month extension of the Constituent Assembly.
According to the pact signed by top three leaders of the three major parties:
1) the Constituent Assembly term will be extended by three months;
2) fundamentals of the peace process will be readied within three months;
3) the first draft of the new constitution will be prepared within three months;
4) the Prime Minister will quit to pave the way for formation of a national consensus government; and
5) the Nepal Army will be developed as an inclusive institution by implementing the past agreements signed with Madhesi Morcha.
However, it wasn’t clear when the Prime Minister’s resignation would come.
For the record: Even the seventh round of the prime ministerial election in the House today failed to elect a chief executive, thanks to the CPN-UML‘s and Madhes-based parties’ neutral stance. Now, the country will have to wait for nearly three weeks to see another round of the drama of the prime ministerial election. The eighth round poll in the House has been scheduled for September 26.
Yet, it is not sure that the eighth round of election also can elect a new prime minister as the parties are sticking to their old respective positions. The election has been postponed by three weeks due to the General Convention of the Nepali Congress (NC), a contestant in the PM election.
In Tuesday’s seventh round of election, UCPN (Maoist) Candidate Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NC candidate Ram Chandra Poudel both failed to garner a majority vote.
Among the 521 lawmakers present during the voting, 252 voted for Dahal, and 110 voted against while 159 remained neutral in the proposal to elect Dahal as the new prime minister. Likewise, 119 votes were cast in favour of Poudel, and 245 votes against, while 151 remained neutral. Continue reading Looking for a Prime Minister: Seventh Failed Attempt→
And a lawmaker says he received threats from the Indian diplomatic mission in Kathmandu. Embassy refutes the claim.
For the record: The fourth round of voting today in the parliament failed to elect a prime minister. Fifth round of voting is scheduled for Aug 18. Neither of the prime ministerial contenders—UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Nepali Congress (NC) Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel—could muster the required votes (301 out of 601 for simple majority) in today’s elections. Dahal bagged 213 votes, which is 46 less than he received in the third round, while Poudel garnered 122, two less than he had in the previous round.
The news today is that those 11 Madhesi Janadhikar Forum lawmakers who had voted in favour of Dahal didn’t floor cross today. Like in the previous rounds the MJF remained neutral along with its allies from Madhesh. The CPN-UML, third largest party in the CA remained neutral too.
Indian Embassy in Kathmandu accused of threatening Nepali lawmaker
Lawmaker Raj Kumar Sharma, who deserted the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) to join the UCPN (Maoist), claimed today that he has been receiving death threats over the prime ministerial poll. Talking with reporters after participating in the fourth round of election to the post of prime minister at the Constituent Assembly (CA) hall today, Sharma said that he was put under extreme pressure and has been repeatedly receiving death threats from the Indian embassy. Continue reading Fourth Round Fails to Elect a Prime Minister→
It seems that the tables have been turned. The customers have become managers and managers have become customers who are willing to bargain. We are talking about relationship of Nepali Congress and the CPN Maoist which has seen changes because of the April 10 election results. Before, when Congress was the largest party in the parliament and Maoists were considered the opposition force, Maoists would put forward countless news clauses and proposals demanding that they be fulfilled by the State. Now, as Maoist is set to lead the next government and trying to continue with the alliance with Congress and other parties, its Congresses turn to put forward the clauses and proposals. Continue reading Now It's Congress That Is Bargaining→
The special session of the parliament has begun in Kathmandu but few believe that it will be able to solve the current political impasse
A Maoist cadre shouts slogans in a rally in Kathmandu today while his leader in the parliament tables proposals that, if passed, will direct the government to table another proposal to declare Nepal a republic.Pics by Prakash Mathema /AFP
As per the demand of the Maoist, the special session of the parliament has begun today but few expect that the house will be able to solve the current deadlock because the seven parties are deeply divided over the key issues including that includes declaring Nepal republic on the current session of the parliament. Since the CPN UML also favors both of the demands of the Maoists (the second demand being the usage of proportional voting system in CA elections), there is a possibility that the house could pass the proposals by a simple majority. That means the house will be giving direction to the government, led by Nepali Congress that is against both demands, to table a proposal of declaring Nepal a republic in the parliament.
In such situation, many believe, the government which also includes the UML, will be in a moral dilemma. However many expect that seven parties (that also includes the Maoist) will be able to avoid any such dilemma and conflict among themselves and come up with a solution first outside the parliament which will then possibly be endorsed by the house. The debates on the three Maoist proposals will begin Sunday. Continue reading House Special Session: How Much To Expect?→
The proposal says, “Expressing serious objection to the message of the king, who has been stripped of all state powers by the Interim Constitution and the May 18, 2006 HoR Proclamation, this sitting [of parliament] rejects the unconstitutional, unauthorized and undemocratic message outright.” Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s party Nepali Congress tabled the proposal and nine other parties supported it. Nepali Congress MP Ram Chandra Poudel tabled the proposal, which was also supported by Bharat Mohan Adhikari of CPN-UML, Dev Gurung of CPN-Maoist, Tek Bahadur Chokhyal of NC-Democratic, Bharat Bimal Yadav of Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi), Nanda Kumar Prasain of Bam Morcha and Sunil Prajapati of Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party. Poudel said, “As the king was unwilling as ever to remain within the constitutional boundaries, the parliament should immediately declare a republic.”
Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula spoke in the parliament. He said: The Prime Minister will take necessary action. It has been our commitment to hold free and fair Constituent Assembly elections. The King has initiated effort to pose obstruction in the holding of the elections. The government will move ahead by defeating such efforts.
Now the question is: Will the government take action against the king? If it takes any actions, the question will be: Will the army come in defense to the king? Many believe that the army will have two choices: Either abide by the democratic government or take the side of the falling king. A few second rung leaders of different political parties, a few civil society members and journalists said that the army will not shoulder a king that is destined to be downed.
Dec 8- Probably for the first time in the history of Nepal since the founding of the Shah dynasty 238 years ago the King and Crown Prince have been made to pay tax. The Customs Office at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Wednesday (8 Dec) charged Rs 53,739 as duty and tax on 50 pieces of torch light that came recently from the US in the name of King Gyanendra. The office also charged Rs 77,193 in customs duty, demurrage charge, tax and fine earlier when royal palace officials reached TIA to acquire a ‘Hunting Trophy’ that came from Vienna, Austria, for Crown Prince Paras, an official said, preferring anonymity. “We released the torch lights and the Hunting Trophy after slapping Rs 130,702 in customs duty and other charges,” the official said. The 19 kg parcel containing 50 pieces of black rechargeable torch light had arrived at the airport Customs Office from the US in the name of “the King of Nepal” through courier service recently. The Hunting Trophy had arrived on September 10. Continue reading First Time in Nepal: King, Crown Prince Pay Tax→