Tumbahamphe cannot be a candidate for Speaker while in position: Gurung

Speaker Election Row

KATHMANDU, Jan 13: Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe cannot be a candidate for the position of Speaker while in position, said Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Dev Gurung.

Tumbahamphe has claimed the post of Speaker, which remains vacant since the resignation of Krishna Bahadur Mahara on Oct 1, for herself and appears in no mood to resign despite the official request from the party.

A secretariat meeting of the party on Saturday had formally requested her to resign and pave way for the election of Speaker. But Tumbahamphe has insisted the party cannot instruct her to step down from the position as the constitution does not allow it and has asked the party to choose a candidate first.

But Gurung argued that the party cannot field its candidate unless Tumbahamphe resigns first and breaks the constitutional deadlock.

“The NCP cannot choose a candidate due to constitutional obligation since the position of the deputy speaker is occupied by its leader,” said Gurung speaking during a face-to-face interaction program organized by the Reporters’ Club Nepal on Monday.

“The deadlock will break once the deputy speaker resigns,” he added.

According to him, Tumbahamphe has no other choice but to resign as she cannot field her nomination before resigning.

“The constitution blocks the deputy speaker to claim the position of Speaker before resigning. Moreover, to be a candidate for the post, one should be a lawmaker,” he argued.

“But Tumbahamphe’s bargain for Speaker has invited further constitutional crisis.”

Tumbahamphe’s unwillingness to resign insisting she be upgraded has angered the party who wants to choose someone else for the position.

Dev Gurung is among the favorite for the position. The others names include two time former Speaker Subash Nembang and Agni Sapkota.

Senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal has also warned her of serious consequences if she keeps disobeying the party.

According to Khanal, Tumbahamphe will be automatically exited if the NCP elects its candidate to the position of Speaker. He has also warned that if Tumbahamphe does not resign upon frequent requests from the party, they will be forced to elect a new speaker and remove her.