Ruling party Secretariat meeting proposes Agni Sapkota as new SpeakerThe decision ends month-long negotiations over the post of House Speaker, but Sapkota’s name could court controversy, as he faces a murder charge.
“Today’s Secretariat meeting unanimously decided to field two-time minister and lawmaker from Sindhupalchowk Sapkota for the post of Speaker,” Bishnu Poudel, general secretary of the party, told the Post.
The Speaker post was vacant since early October last year after Krishna Bahadur Mahara stepped down following allegations of attempted rape.
Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe had staked claim to the post of Speaker but the ruling party was reluctant to give her the post and had instead asked her to resign.
After month-long negotiations, co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal had finally agreed on Sapkota earlier on Sunday. The Secretariat meeting, called for Sunday evening, formally proposed Sapkota for Speaker.
Oli had long been in favour of two-time Constituent Assembly chair Subash Nembang for Speaker while Dahal had been making a pitch for Sapkota.
Monday’s House meeting is expected to start the process of electing the new Speaker, and Sapkota is all but certain to be elected as the ruling party holds a comfortable majority.
Sapkota’s candidacy for Speaker, however, is expected to draw criticism, as he is facing a murder charge.
Sapkota, along with another Maoist leader Surya Man Dong, faces charges of kidnapping and murdering Arjun Lama of Kavre during the decade-long insurgency.
Asked if Sapkota’s court case figured at the Secretariat meeting, Poudel said that Sapkota was an eligible candidate and that he does not have any cases pending in any court of law.
“He is an elected people’s representative and he became a minister twice in the past,” Poudel told the Post.