Ruling party chiefs at odds over Speaker choice

Speaker Election

KATHMANDU, Jan 2: Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Chairperson of Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ have yet to decide on Speaker as both chiefs want to fill the vacant post electing a leader of their own choice.

Oli wants to re-elect former Speaker Subash Nembang to the post arguing he has experience but Dahal is in no mood to re-award the position to Nembang who has already held the position twice in the past.

Dahal has insisted that since Krishna Bahadur Mahara–who resigned on Oct 1 following the attempted rape allegation on a female parliament staffer– was from the Maoist camp, the new one replacing Mahara should be from Maoist faction. He is, therefore, lobbying for Agni Sapkota for the post.

Despite holding talks for time and again, the two chiefs are still at odds over the selection of Speaker, which has remained vacant for the past three months thereby affecting the parliamentary business.

The delay in the election of Speaker has affected the certification of five Bills, field visits of parliamentary committees and other routine tasks.

Although the winter session of the parliament started on Dec 20, the meeting has been postponed two times already, with the last meeting deferred until Jan 12, at the request of the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker  Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe, who has the support of President Bidya Devi Bhandari, is lobbying herself for the position insisting she should be upgraded to Speaker.

Tumbahamphe has frequently turned down the ruling party chiefs’ request to step down that would pave way for the ruling NCP to file its candidate and secure the position as the Constitution of Nepal does not allow the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the HoR to be representatives from the same party.

The other parties do not enjoy the absolute majority like the NCP to field their candidate for the post.