Government’s ordinance on Constitutional Council Act: What does it mean?

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Great ripples have been created again in domestic politics of Nepal after the government on Tuesday introduced an ordinance to amend the existing Constitutional Council. The new ordinance was introduced repealing the previous provision that needed at least five members including the prime minister to be present in the meeting to take any decision.

 The chief justice, speaker, deputy speaker, chair of the National Assembly, and the leader of the opposition are the council member and it is headed by the prime minister. Currently, the post of deputy speaker is vacant as parties failed to elect the one.

The government introduced the ordinance after the the council meeting was postponed twice — on Sunday and Tuesday until 5pm, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Prasad Sapkota refused to attend the meeting.

As the speaker refused to attend the meeting, prime minister KP Sharma Oli called an emergency meeting and recommended the ordinance to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. After she approved it, now the council meeting can convene and take decisions even without the participation of the speaker and the leader of opposition parties. Sher Bahadur Deuba, the leader of Nepali Congress, the main opposition party said he would skip the meeting.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has introduced two Constitutional Council ordinances in two years. Earlier, ordinance was introduced in April to amend the Constitutional Council Act to enable the constitutional body to take decisions on the basis of majority. PM Oli amended the Constitutional Council as the president of opposition party Sher Bahadur Deuba skipped some of the meetings of the council over his differences with the PM Oli on some constitutional appointments.

After some months, PM Oli has again introduced another ordinance. This move drew a lot of criticism from inside and outside his party. Prachanda, the chairman of the NCP has demanded to take back the decision. As the rift in his party Nepal Communist Party is widening, this move will aggravate it more. One after another, PM Oli is destroying the framework of the constitution through ordinances. This move to issue an ordinance can make him abandoned inside and outside his party.

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