President promulgates ordinance to ease party splitThe ordinance by the Deuba government has changed provisions for registering a new party for any group with 20 percent of Central Committee or Parliamentary Party members.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday promulgated an ordinance to amend Political Parties Act-2017, which was recommended by the Sher Bahadur Deuba government a day before.
“The President has issued the ordinance related to the Political Parties Act,” Jaganath Panta, spokesperson for the Office of the President, told the Post.
The Deuba government’s move of issuing the ordinance has attracted criticism, especially for doing exactly the same for which his party the Nepali Congress has taken serious exception in April last year.
The ordinance issued by the Deuba government seeks to amend provisions related to party split, making it easier for any group to break away from the mother party and form a new party.
After the amendment, any group with control over 20 percent of Central Committee or Parliamentary Party members can register a new party with the Election Commission. The earlier provision required at least 40 percent of Central Committee or Parliamentary Party members to register a new party.
The erstwhile KP Sharma Oli government in April last year also sought to amend the laws, and introduced an ordinance to change the “and” provision to “or”, keeping the required number of members at 40 percent.
Deuba’s Congress party last year had described Oli’s ordinance “unacceptable move, responsible tendency”, saying such a decision undermined the supremacy of Parliament.
The Deuba government recommended the ordinance a day after it prorogued the House, which had reconvened on July 18 following its restoration by the Supreme Court on July 12. Oli had dissolved the House on May 21, for a second time in less than six months. Earlier in December also, Oli had dissolved the House. It was reinstated on February 23 by the Supreme Court.
Members of the current ruling alliance admit that the objective of introducing the ordinance is to cause a split in the CPN-UML and the Janata Samajbadi Party.
The UML has already taken the cudgels against Deuba for introducing the ordinance, saying the government is bent on splitting the party.
The Madhav Nepal faction of the UML has been unhappy with the establishment faction for quite a while, but it was unable to form a new party because of the strict 40 percent provision in the Political Parties Act.
The ordinance has made it easier not only for the Nepal faction of the UML but also the Mahantha Thakur-group of the Janata Samajbadi Party. Thakur has been relegated into a minority in the party after the Election Commission recognised that 34 of the 51 central executive committee members were with Upendra Yadav. Thakur was also stripped of the post of party chair.
With the introduction of the ordinance, Thakur is now set to form his own party.