Clause-wise discussion on amendment bill startsClause-wise discussion on the constitution amendment bill started on Wednesday, four months after it was tabled in Parliament.
Clause-wise discussion on the constitution amendment bill started on Wednesday, four months after it was tabled in Parliament.
The process to put the amendment bill to vote moved forward after the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N) said on August 11 that it was ready to accept the outcome of the voting. Constitution amendment has been one of the key demands of the RJP-N, which had refused to participate in the two rounds of local polls held in May and June, saying the government failed to address its concerns.
The governing parties—the Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre)—had earlier told the RJP-N that their efforts to garner the required numbers to pass the amendment bill had failed and that they, however, were ready to put it to vote if the RJP-N was ready to accept the outcome.
Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Yagya Bahadur Thapa presented the bill for deliberation. The main opposition CPN-UML, which has stood against constitution amendment, participated in the discussions on Wednesday.
UML lawmaker Rewati Raman Bhandari was the only lawmaker to take part in the discussion, which will continue on Sunday as well. “We can’t vote for the amendment bill which is meant to serve petty interests of a few people. Our party will stand against it,” said Bhandari.
As many as 50 amendment proposals have been registered.
The ruling parties are preparing to put the amendment bill to vote on Monday. But chances of its endorsement are slim, as the ruling alliance lacks the required numbers. In the 593-strong Parliament, 396 lawmakers must vote in favour to pass the bill.
The Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government on April 11 had tabled the amendment bill in the House as per a deal he had reached with the Madhes-based parties, six of which nine days later on April 20 united to form the RJP-N. But then government failed to push the bill, as the UML continued to object to it.
When Deuba came to power in June, he had also pledged the Madhes-based parties that his government would amend the constitution to address their concerns.
After two local level elections, the RJP-N was increasingly under pressure to participate in the third phase polls, which were rescheduled for September 18 at their insistence.
Much to the chagrin of an already alienated RJP-N, the Supreme Court on May 26 stayed a government decision of increasing the number of local units, yet another demand of the RJP-N.
But the apex court on August 10 vacated its earlier stay order, paving the way for the government to add local units in Province 2. A day later, the RJP-N agreed to participate in the September 18 polls and requested the government to put the constitution amendment bill to vote.
Nov 29, ’16: Govt registers constitution amendment bill
Jan 8, ’17: Govt tables the bill in Parliament
April 11: Govt withdraws the earlier amendment bill and tables a new one
April 20: Six Madhes-based parties merge to form RJP-N
May 14: First phase of local polls held, RJP-N does not participate
May 22: Govt decides to add 22 local units in 12 Tarai districts
May 26: Supreme Court stays govt decision of adding local units
June 28: Second phase of local polls held, RJP-N boycotts
July 11: Governing parties tell RJP-N statute amendment not possible as they lack required numbers
July 15: RJP-N registers with Election Commission
Aug 10: SC vacates its stay order, paving way for govt to add local units in Province 2
Aug 11: RJP-N requests govt to put amendment bill to vote, agrees to join third phase local polls