The ruling Nepal Communist Party has been thinking over urging Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe to step down to assure that the party acquires the post of speaker. The post fell vacant following the ouster of Krishna Bahadur Mahara last month in the wake of charges of a rape attempt.
As the constitution does it mandatory to select speakers and deputy speakers in parliament from various political parties, the NCP is intending to open the post of deputy speaker to other parties and keep the speakership for itself. The ruling party ploy arises at a time when the opposition Nepali Congress is claiming that the deputy speaker cannot start a meeting of the House of Representatives. A provision in the parliamentary regulations asserts that the speaker should start and end each House meeting.
Subas Nembang the NCP deputy parliamentary party leader stated on Thursday that the deputy speaker will resign before the commencement of the lower house session which will select a new leader. Nembang told journalists at his office “The deputy speaker should resign before the commencement of the House session to ensure the representation of different political parties and different genders in the posts of speaker and deputy speaker,”
With the merger of the CPN-UML and CPN, the Maoist Center before the previous parliamentary elections, both speaker and deputy speaker have ended up in the same political party. But the NCP refused to vacate one of the posts despite constitutional challenges. In this regard, a lawsuit is still pending at the Supreme Court.
As per Nembang, the winter session of parliament will be charged only after the by-polls for vacant posts in parliament and the provincial assemblies.
However, he claimed that the resignation of the deputy speaker is not essential just because the current parliamentary regulations prohibit her from the beginning and closing House meetings. Nembang argued “As the constitution allows the deputy speaker to chair House meetings the regulations cannot bar her from the beginning and closing such meetings,”
As per the party leaders, the prime brass is yet to discuss the party’s candidate for speaker. But names including Agni Sapkota, Dev Gurung and Lekharaj Bhatta are already said to be in the fray. Deputy Speaker Tumbahamphe has also staked a claim for the post of speaker.
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