Nepali Congress statute amendment draft proposes more power to presidentThe Sher Bahadur faction of the Nepali Congress (NC) has been striving to make the party president more powerful through a legal course. The rival camp of the main opposition party is said to have grown suspicious over the endeavor to grant more power to the party president.
The Sher Bahadur faction of the Nepali Congress (NC) has been striving to make the party president more powerful through legal course. The rival camp of the main opposition party is said to have grown suspicious over the endeavor to grant more power to the party president.
A preliminary draft prepared by the statute amendment committee led by NC General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khada has proposed granting party president the full authority for the appointment of party office-bearers, among other issues. “Only the election of the central president will be held and the president will appoint other office bearers from the elected members, and the appointments will be informed to the party Central Working Committee,” read the draft.
A committee member explained that the proposal was brought to make similar to the parliamentary system. He said the amendment draft aims to redefine the role of the party leadership structure so that president’s role will be similar to that of the Prime Minister, the office-bearers will be like the ministers and role of central members will be similar to lawmakers. The amendment draft has proposed holding an election for the posts of the president, a general secretary, and a treasurer. It has a provision that the president will nominate candidates for the posts of a vice president, a general secretary and a deputy general secretary that should be endorsed by the Central Working Committee.
However, the non-establishment faction has grown suspicious over what they reckon it to be an attempt to revert the party back to singular leadership system. The views expressed by non-establishment faction have been incorporated as alternative views in the draft. The faction has put forward two alternatives. The first one is that all the office-bearers including the president should be chosen through the election. The second one is 70 percent of the officer-bearers should be elected and the remaining 30 percent should be nominated. Of the 70 percent office-bearers requiring contesting the election are the president, vice president, and a general secretary, while two of the three general secretaries will be appointed through nomination. The faction has proposed for a provision allowing the president to nominate a general secretary, a deputy general secretary, and treasurer.
The NC leaders close to President Sher Bahadur Deuba has been stressing on the need to remove the provision “tying the hands and legs” of the president. But the non-establishment faction has been laying emphasis on holding election arguing that the party president is becoming autocratic. The NC had adopted group leadership from its 12th General Convention. Prior to that, the party had been functioning under the singular leadership of late Girija Prasad Koirala.
NC central leader Arjun Narsingh KC said the party can’t go back to single leadership from the group leadership. “When the power is confined to a single person, there will always be a danger of autocracy in the party,” said leader KC. “We can only meet the challenge of making the party big again in the next four years through check and balance of power.”
Establishment leader Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, on the other hand, argues that the elected president should be empowered so as not to limit his freedom to pursue his plans and policies.
“If the hands of party president are tied, he can’t take ahead his agenda and the organisation won’t be dynamic,” said leader Karki. “As there will always be another general convention to decide his leadership, so the president’s rights should not be curtailed.”
But the amendment committee member Pradeep Poudel contended that it will be meaningless to give more power to the president as the 40 percent of the provision regarding the president’s authority has remained dormant even now. “The president alone won’t be able to handle the single leadership,” he said.
The draft proposal has proposed a 131-member working committee including a president, 2 vice presidents, 2 general secretaries, 3 deputy general secretaries, and a treasurer. There are also alternative proposals for 101-member committee or 121-member committee with 10 office-bearers.
Central Leader KC opined that the party office bearers should be elected in order to curb the president’s autocracy and sharing of posts. The non-establishment has also demanded the election of a parliamentary committee and disciplinary committee. “The party has witnessed commotion in ticket distribution because of excessive power to the leadership,” said Poudel. “It won’t be reasonable to make the leadership more powerful at a time when federalism is being implemented.”