RESIGNATION ROW: Divided House

CPN-UML’s decision to seek the resignation of president Dr. Ram Baran Yadav has divided current politics

Dec. 13, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -12 Dec. 13- 2013 (Mangsir 28, 2070)

The leaders of major political parties contested the elections for the second Constituent Assembly to promulgate the new constitution within a year. However, they have started the debate on the fresh elections for the post of president and vice president.

After the completion of the elections, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist have raised the question about the fresh election for the president by leaving aside their own commitment to deliver the constitution to the people. According to the Interim Constitution, the president shall remain in the post until the promulgation of the new constitution. Even the Supreme Court does not say anything about him. The president and vice-president have nothing to do with the process.

They didn't have any role to dissolve the CA. However, the political parties are now debating over whether to hold the fresh elections for the president or not? Nepali Congress and Madhesh based parties have already opposed any move to hold fresh elections for the president. However, UCPN-Maoist, CPN-UML and RPP-Nepal are demanding fresh elections.

"There is the need for the president to renew the mandate. We want to see new elections for the president," said Bam Dev Gautam, vice president of CPN-UML. "We will oppose any move to fresh elections,” said Rajendra Mahato, leader of Sadbhvana Party.

According to Article 36 C of the Interim Constitution, the president shall continue in office until the new constitution is promulgated by the Constituent Assembly.

Constitutional lawyers also argue that the present political stalemate cannot be resolved without the approval of the president. The new CA has to endorse the order under which the present interim government and new election was held. Till the endorsement of all the previous presidential orders by the Legislature-Parliament, even the election will be regarded as illegal.

Given the present circumstances, even if the president expressed his wishes to resign, the interim constitution has not spoken anything about it. In case the president and vice-president tender their resignation, there will be a constitutional crisis.

According to article 69, the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly shall be held as summoned by the prime minister within 21 days after the final results of the election of the members of Constituent Assembly have been made public by the Election Commission. UCPN-Maoist and fringe parties have already made it clear that they will not submit the list till the formation of an independent probe commission. However, the situation is different now as the status of head of the present government is given to the chairman of council of minister. International practice also is that normally the president summons the House. There is a legal controversy over the summoning the meeting.

Chairman of Council of Minister Khil Raj Regmi has already told president that he will summon the CA meeting as a prime minister. The matter is yet to be settled amidst all the political and constitutional disputes.

The controversy over who can summon the first session of the newly elected Constituent Assembly is also raging. Some constitutional lawyers are arguing the need to amend the present interim constitution to add the clauses to address the issues. If CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist and other parties continue to insist on fresh elections for the president and vice president, that will delay the summoning of the CA. As UCPN-Maoist led 18 parties’ alliance has decided not to nominate their representatives within the schedule, published by the Election Commission, the CA proceedings are sure to get stalled.

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