UML boycotts all-party meeting called by prime ministerThe main opposition refused to attend a similar meeting called by the Speaker two weeks ago.
The main opposition CPN-UML has boycotted the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
The all-party meeting started earlier this morning at Baluwatar.
A UML leader confirmed to the Post that the party is not attending the meeting because the representatives of the CPN (Unified Socialist) are also attending the meeting.
“It’s just the continuation of our ongoing stance and that we will not attend any meeting where leaders of the illegally and unconstitutionally formed CPN (Unified Socialist) are present,” said a UML leader who did not wish to be named. “The prime minister and the government are not concerned about our ongoing protests and concerns.”
The CPN (Unified Sociliast) was formed on August 26 after the Madhav Nepal group decided to split from the UML. Earlier on August 1, the UML had expelled 14 lawmakers, including Nepal, and sent a notice to the Parliament Secretariat regarding the decision.
The UML took umbrage at Speaker Agni Sapkota for not issuing a notice regarding its decision to expel the lawmakers and resorted to obstructing the House of Representatives.
Earlier on September 13 also the UML had boycotted an all-party meeting called by Speaker Sapkota.
Prime Minister Deuba decided to call an all-party meeting on Thursday in a bid to seek a solution to the ongoing House obstruction by the UML. A House meeting has been scheduled for later on Thursday.
“Parliament obstruction is the main agenda of today’s all-party meeting, but the prime minister wants to discuss other contemporary political issues as well,” said Bhanu Deuba, chief personal secretary of Prime Minister Deuba.
The UML, however, has charged the prime minister with not paying attention to the main opposition’s concerns. The UML believes the Deuba government issued an ordinance to amend the Political Parties Act with an aim to split the party. The UML was split aided by the ordinance. The Deuba government on September 27 repealed the ordinance, even though it was registered in the Parliament on September 8.
The UML leader said the prime minister should have held “direct” talks with their party if he was indeed concerned about the main opposition’s concerns.
Deuba’s all-party meeting has been called at a time when there are talks about plans to prorogue the House.
With no law on oaths, Deuba, who has been struggling to expand his Cabinet, may face a problem in appointing new ministers. An ordinance on oath introduced by the erstwhile KP Sharma Oli government was registered in the Parliament on July 18. But it lapsed on September 15 after it failed to get through the House within 60 days from the date it was registered.
Ministerial appointments by Deuba will have no meaning unless there is a law for oath-taking and as per the constitution, ministers cannot assume office without taking the oath. The oath of Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka, who was appointed on September 22, has been challenged at the Supreme Court, arguing that it was administered without any legal basis.
The only way for Deuba to expand his Cabinet now is introducing a bill on oaths in the Parliament. But it takes at least a month for a bill to become a law. An alternative is issuing an ordinance on oaths, for which the House needs to be prorogued.
Asked if the government is planning to prorogue the House, Bhanu Deuba, the prime minister’s aide, said it depends on how the all-party meeting goes.