Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada resignsKhatiwada’s resignation allows Oli to reappoint him as finance minister without Parliamentary membership or as a full National Assembly member, even though it is unclear which option the prime minister will exercise.
Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada resigned on Tuesday, the day his two-year term in the National Assembly expires. Khatiwada was also handling the Communication and Information Technology portfolio ever since Gokul Baskota, the former minister, resigned on February 20. Khatiwada is likely to be reappointed on Wednesday as Finance Minister and Communication and Information Technology Minister.
Khatiwada called on Chief Secretary Lokdarshan Regmi on Tuesday at his office and forwarded his resignation to the President, according to an official at Khatiwada’s Secretariat.
Finance Minister Khatiwada, who is a National Assembly member, will complete his two-year term, together with 18 other members of the Upper House, at midnight on Tuesday. With his resignation, Khatiwada can now be reappointed as a minister in the Cabinet.
As per Article 79 of the constitution, Cabinet ministers who are not members of the House of Representatives or the National Assembly will need to be appointed to either House within six months of their assumption of a portfolio.
“We will go and meet with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in the [Tuesday] evening at Teaching Hospital and then we will know whether he will get reappointed or not,” Khatiwada’s Press Coordinator Yamen Poudel told the Post.
Oli was admitted to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital for his second kidney transplant on Monday. He will undergo the transplant on Wednesday.
Now that Khatiwada has resigned, the prime minister can either reappoint him as finance minister for six months or recommend him to President Bidya Devi Bhandari for another term in the National Assembly. His term, whether for two, four or six years, will be decided at the time of appointment by drawing lots. All National Assembly members serve staggered terms. It remains unclear which option Oli will choose to exercise as he can continue with Khatiwada as finance minister for at least six months with taking a decision.
Khatiwada’s reappointment is certain to widen rifts within the ruling Nepal Communist Party as the party secretariat has already selected party vice-chair Bamdev Gautam for the National Assembly in Khatiwada’s place. Oli, however, has refused to endorse Gautam, who is being backed by the other party chair, Pushpa Kamal Dahal.