Constitutional crisis looms large with bickering over Speaker

Khabarhub

January 14, 2020

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Constitutional crisis looms large with bickering over Speaker
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KATHMANDU: The issue as to who would take up the coveted post of the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) is becoming thorny as both the Deputy Speaker and the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leadership are not in a mood to budge an inch from their respective stances.

Deputy Speaker Dr. Shivamaya Tumbahamphe, who has staked a claim for the post, has categorically ruled out the possibility of her stepping down unless the leadership assured her of the post.

However, party Chairmen K P Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal seem to be adamant to their stance of picking a new Speaker rather than giving the position to Tumbahamphe.

Now consider what NCP Chief Whip Dev Gurung has to say: “The issue is getting knotty as it is heading towards creating a constitutional crisis.” Gurung insists on resolving the issue through constitutional means as this would further aggravate the problem, which might even lead to catastrophe if delayed further.

“This is not a political issue,” he said adding, “Lingering it further will invite a serious circumstance, even leading to a constitutional crisis or system failure.”

Gurung argues that the party can neither compel nor issue directives or a whip to Deputy Speaker Tumbahamphe asking her to step down as it would further exacerbate the situation. He also raised the suspicion that the issue might lead to a Parliamentary deadlock.

According to the constitutional provision, Deputy Speaker Tumbahamphe needs to resign from her post to fight for the post of a Speaker as only a member of the parliament is eligible for the post.

“If you also look at the past experience, the largest party in the Parliament gets the post of a Speaker,” Gurung said suggesting, “The best way to end the deadlock is to make Deputy Speaker resign to pave the way towards electing a new Speaker.”

Gurung warns that the current deadlock will have an adverse effect on the political system. “We are hopeful that she (Tumbahamphe) would step down to ensure smooth functioning of the House,” Gurung added.

Likewise, saying that the current impasse has reached its climax, NCP leader Haribol Gajurel maintains that the issue must be resolved before January 20. “The entire state of affairs indicate that the executive head has been hell-bent on consolidating the power,” he claimed.

Gajurel, however, said he is hopeful that the issue would be resolved soon hinting at the possibility that Agni Sapkota would be elected to the top post.

The position of Speaker of the HoR has been vacant since the first week of October after the resignation of the then Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who was accused of rape attempt.

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