Agni Sapkota elected HoR Speaker unopposed
KATHMANDU, Jan 21: The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Agni Sapkota has been elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) unopposed after no party registered their nomination for the post.
According to the federal parliament secretariat, Sapkota was the sole candidate to file nomination for the position within the allocated time. The secretariat had set the time frame between 11 am to 2 pm for filing the candidacy for the post of speaker.
The lower house will officially announce his election to the post on Jan 26.
Sapkota’s candidacy was proposed by NCP parliamentary party deputy-leader Subash Nembang and seconded by NCP chief whip Dev Gurung, NCP lawmaker Onsari Gharti and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna.
The position has remained vacant since Krishna Bahadur Mahara stepped down following a rape attempt allegation in October.
WHO GETS DEPUTY?
Since the ruling party commands an overwhelming majority at the parliament making Sapkota certain to get elected as speaker, the opposition parties Nepali Congress (NC), RJPN and Samajbadi Party all have their eyes set on the post of the deputy speaker.
The constitution bars both speaker and deputy speaker to be the representatives from the same party and gender.
NC was earlier rumored to field Pampha Bhusal against Sapkota but decided not to field anyone prior to the nomination period.
As the second-largest party in the House, NC is expecting the position and the party’s decision not to field anyone against Sapkota might have been moved to lure the ruling party for its support since whoever succeeds to garner NCP’s support will surely get the deputy. But, the party has clarified it did not field its candidate to bag the deputy speaker’s post.
Another strong possibility points to RJPN, with whom the ruling party has allied for the upcoming National Assembly election. Furthermore, RJPN was one of the three to second Sapkota’s candidacy.
Samajbadi’s chances to the position seem thin given the strained relation between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Upendra Yadav lately.