Ruling party feud impact seen on Constitutional CouncilSpeaker Agni Sapkota, a key member in the Council, skips the meeting. The meeting has been rescheduled for 5pm.
A meeting of the Constitutional Council scheduled for Tuesday morning was postponed until 5pm after Speaker Agni Sapkota refused to join the meeting.
The House Speaker is one of the members in the Constitutional Council, headed by the prime minister, which makes recommendations for key appointments including in constitutional bodies, judiciary and foreign missions.
“The Speaker could not attend the Constitutional Council meeting because there was a lack of preparations and homework,” said Shreedhar Neupane, press advisor to Speaker Sapkota. “Also there was no coordination on the part of the [Council] chairman.”
As per the provisions of Constitutional Council Act, five of the six members must be present for the meeting to convene.
The chief justice, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, National Assembly chair and leader of the main opposition are the members of the Constitutional Council.
Since there is no deputy Speaker, absence of any of the members means no meeting of the Council.
Sunday's meeting of the Council also could not take place after opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba expressed his inability to attend, given his party's mass protests against the government the following day. Speaker Sapkota was also absent in Sunday's meeting, saying he had prior engagements to discuss issues related to the federal parliament.
The decision of Sapkota, who was elected Speaker in January following a long-drawn tug-of-war between ruling party chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to skip the meeting is just an indication of how the intra-party conflict in the Nepal Communist Party is affecting the Constitutional Council, party insiders say.
Sapkota, a former Maoist leader, is a long time ally of Dahal.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party has been mired in a crisis for months now with chairs Oli and Dahal locked into a battle.
The faction led by Dahal, backed by senior leaders Madhav Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal, Bamdev Gautam and Narayan Kaji Shrestha, has accused Oli of not abiding by party decisions and demanded that the latter step down.
Oli and Dahal have also levelled allegations against each other in writing.
Dahal had expressed his discontent at Oli’s move of calling the Council meeting on Sunday also. The last meeting of the Council was held in November last year.
A Standing Committee member said Oli is trying to stoke further confrontation by filling constitutional posts.
“If Oli shares constitutional positions with the main opposition bypassing senior leaders in his own party, it will add fuel to the fire,” said the member.