By-election in Chitwan-2 scheduled for April 23Lamichhane likely to contest for the seat he lost after top court invalidated his citizenship.
The Election Commission on Sunday decided to hold a by-election in Chitwan-2 on April 23. The constituency became vacant after Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) President Rabi Lamichhane, who was elected from the constituency last November, lost his lawmaker status as his citizenship certificate was found invalid by the Supreme Court last month.
“The by-election process will begin on April 3 with the nomination of candidates,” said Shaligram Sharma Poudel, spokesperson at the Election Commission. The election is being held as per Article 84 (7) of the Constitution of Nepal which says in case the seat of any member of the House of Representatives falls vacant while its term still remains for more than six months, the vacancy should be filled by conducting a new election.
The fourth largest party in the lower house had been demanding that the Election Commission announce a date for the by-election as soon as possible. Also on Sunday, Lamichhane requested Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal not to delay the election. Lamichhane was elected from the constituency by defeating his closest rival Umesh Shrestha of the Nepali Congress by a huge margin of 34,170 votes. While Lamichhane bagged 49,261 votes, Shrestha received just 15,0191 votes in the November 20 elections.
The RSP is likely to field Lamichhane in the constituency again. Although the police have started investigation against Lamichhane into complaints of alleged passport misuse, the law does not stop him from contesting the elections since he has not been convicted to date.
The Supreme Court on January 27 stripped Lamichhane of membership of the House of Representatives, concluding that he used his old invalid citizenship to contest the elections without re-applying for a new one after renouncing his American citizenship. With the court verdict, Lamichhane lost his lawmaker position, home ministership and party presidency.
He reacquired the Nepali citizenship two days later.