Nepal’s Parliament holds first assembly after reinstatement by apex court docket

Kathmandu, March 7

Nepal’s reinstated lower house of Parliament held its first meeting on Sunday during which the lawmakers belonging to the ruling Nepal Communist Party’s (NCP) splinter faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ boycotted the session.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari last week summoned the session of the House of Representatives in accordance with the Supreme Court’s February 24 ruling which annulled embattled Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s “unconstitutional” decision to dissolve it.

Prime Minister Oli, who reached the federal parliament building in New Baneshwar to attend the session in the afternoon, left the venue even before the start of the meeting, My Republica newspaper reported.

The lawmakers close to the Prachanda-led faction of the ruling party walked out of parliament as the House meeting was underway.

Main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) and Janata Samabadi Party (JSP) lawmakers demanded the withdrawal of the controversial ordinance on the Constitutional Council (CC), prompting the Speaker to put off the session until March 10. The next meeting is scheduled for 1 pm on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Oli, the 69-year-old leader known for his pro-China leanings, in a surprise move dissolved Parliament on December 20 last year, amidst a tussle for power with 66-year-old Prachanda. The ruling NCP split over Oli’s move to dissolve the 275-member House.

The CPN-UML led by Oli and CPN (Maoist Centre) led by Prachanda merged in May 2018 to form a unified Nepal Communist Party following victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections. In the 2017 elections, the UML had won 121 seats and the Maoist Centre 53.

In a landmark ruling last month, the apex court reinstated the lower house of Parliament.

The parliament meeting took place after eight months since the prorogation of the budget session on July 2 last year. As per the constitutional provision, the winter session was due to begin before January 2 as the gap between the two sessions of the House must not be more than 6 months.

Meanwhile, the apex court on Sunday quashed the unification of the erstwhile Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) led by Oli and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) led by ‘Prachanda’, in a huge blow to the two warring leaders.

A Bench of justices Kumar Regmi and Bam Kumar Shrestha issued the verdict giving authenticity of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to Rishiram Kattel, who had registered the party at the Election Commission (EC) in his name prior to the formation of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Oli and Prachanda.

Kattel had challenged the Election Commission’s decision to register Nepal Communist Party (NCP) under Oli and Prachanda in May 2018. —PTI

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