House to begin Speaker election process today, Tumbahamphe to “resign”

Speaker election process

KATHMANDU, Jan 20: The House of Representatives (HoR) is set to begin the process for the election of a new speaker and deputy speaker when the winter session of the parliament resumes today.

The meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) had been deferred for time and again in the past month due to the row over speaker choice within the ruling Nepal Communist Party.

The position of speaker has remained vacant since Krishna Bahadur Mahara stepped down of Oct 1 after a female parliament staffer accused him of attempted rape and physical assault.

The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has already picked Agni Sapkota for the position of speaker, hence, leaving Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe with no choice but to step down without completing her five-year tenure, clearing the way for the ruling party to field Sapkota.

Article 91 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal states that the speaker and deputy speaker shall be the representatives from different parties and gender.

Tumbahamphe had claimed the position for herself and had refused to resign despite a formal request form the party. But she failed to receive support from the ruling party.

“Tumbahambhe will resign today paving way for the ruling party to field Sapkota,” said NCP leader Devendra Paudel.

“She is a qualified woman. The party will find a suitable position for her.

Tumbahamphe had taken her dissatisfaction to prime minister wondering what mistake did she commit and why she should leave the position despite being qualified. She had refused to fall victim to Mahara’s sexual offense.

“She has made no mistake. The party requested her to resign owing to constitutional obligations,” said Paudel.

Tumbahamphe, in a television interview, had said that she cannot resign and vacate the House leadership unless the ruling party picks a candidate first.

And with the NCP already picking a candidate, she will tender her resignation before the start of the House session, it has been learned.

If she tenders her resignation, the seniormost member will chair the HoR meeting. But, if she does not, Tumbahambhe, as a deputy speaker, will chair the meeting.