Prez will not approve National Assembly Ordinance until political parties find consensus first

National Assembly Ordinance

Prakash Silwal

KATHMANDU, Dec 16: The results of the House of Representatives and Province Assemblies elections are almost all out. But it appears that the constitution of the National Assembly, the upper House of the parliament, will take some time.

The left alliance comprising CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) has won 116 of the 165 seats under the first-past-the-post system of the election to the House of Representatives election.

Political and legal debate is on regarding whether or not to carry ahead the process for forming new government as there is delay in the issuance of an ordinance related to the election process of the National Assembly as the major parties differ on the issue.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari has taken the initiatives in recent days to settle the dispute related to the election process of the National Assembly seen among the political parties in a compromise.

In this connection, the Head-of-the-State has held separate talks with Prime Minister and Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Maoist Center chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Friday and Saturday. The talks were focused on the formation of the National Assembly, the new government and contemporary issues.

According to political analysts, there is confusion regarding allocation of proportional representation seats in the House of Representatives, the lower house of federal Parliament, also as the constitutionally mandated 33 per cent participation of women in the federal parliament would not come by until the formation of the National Assembly.

Some among the political parties and law practitioners contend that the new government cannot be formed until the National Assembly is formed. There is another argument also that the President can call for the formation of a new government even when the National Assembly is not in place as there is new people’s mandate from the election.

The incumbent Council of Ministers as per its October 18 decision had presented before the President the ordinance regarding the election of National Assembly members for the presidential approval as the bill related to the members of the National Assembly could not be passed by the erstwhile Legislature-Parliament during its term.

The Nepali Congress has been pushing for having the representation in the National Assembly on the basis of single transferrable vote mode whereas the leftist alliance has been insisting on majoritarian system. It has been asserting that adopting the majoritarian system would be in consonance with the constitution.

Prime Minister Deuba has suggested to the President to approve the ordinance that the government has presented before her. The ordinance provides for adopting the single transferable vote system in the formation of the National Assembly.

On the other hand, UML Chair Oli has said that the government’s proposal for adopting the single transferable voting system contained in the ordinance is unconstitutional.

The Chief personal secretary of the President Bhesh Raj Adhikari said that the President in her meetings with the leaders of the major political parties has urged them to reach to an agreement on issues such as the ordinance.

“President’s stress is on consensus among the major political parties. The ordinance will be promulgated immediately after the parties reach to an agreement on this matter,” said Adhikari.

In the opinion of former lawmaker and advocate Ram Narayan Bidari it is the responsibility of the President to call for the formation of a new government after the final results of the first-past-the-post system of the election to the member of the House of Representatives held in two phases on November 26 and December 7 already been declared.

He said the leader of the political party commanding a majority in the parliament singly or in coalition with other parties can seek a vote of confidence from the House within a month of his/her beings appointed the Prime Minister by the President.

Part 8 of the Constitution has provisions for the formation of the federal legislature-parliament. As per the Article 83 of the constitution, the lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives, would be of 275 members while the upper house or the National Assembly would be of 59 members as per the Article 86.