As three main political parties are yet to agree on the issue of constitution amendment, which is required to fulfill the demands of Madheshis and Janjatis, the new political development following the registration of an impeachment motion by major two parties CPN-UML and Maoist Center against the chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) charts a new political course pushing Madheshi agenda to the backburner.
Although Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has declared that the constitutional amendment proposal would be put forward in the House before the upcoming Chhath festival, the new political development following the registration of impeachment motion has generated new debates.
Prime Minister Dahal asserted that the constitution would be amended forging the consensus of major political parties. However, three parties are now busy to find consensus on the impeachment motion.
The new agreement on the impeachment motion against CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki is likely to have a bearing on the amendment of the constitution to incorporate the demand of Madheshis and Janjatis.
Proposed by CPN-Maoist Centre lawmaker Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and seconded by CPN-UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, the motion has attached the signatures of 157 lawmakers — 107 from the UML and 50 from the CPN-MC.
As per the article 101 (2) of the constitution, there is the need of 149 lawmakers to reach the one-fourth mark from the existing 597 members of Parliament to move such a motion. However, a two-thirds majority is required to pass the impeachment motion.
Initiated by CPN-UML, the impeachment motion may be used by Prime Minister Dahal as a bargaining tool with UML on constitutional amendment issue. As CPN-UML is desperate to impeach CIAA chief Karki, Maoist center and Nepali Congress have the right time to move the amendment of constitution side by side in the Legislature Parliament.
Having taken a hard stand against any amendment in the constitution, the motion will be also a face saving for CPN-UML to change its stand and following Maoist Center and Nepali Congress stand on amendment of constitution.
As Prime Minister Dahal has already prepared a tentative proposal for the amendment in the new constitution, the government will table the bill as it is required in case of consensus.
Prime Minister Dahal recently claimed that concluding the constitution amendment process in consensus of the main opposition CPN-UML is his main priority indicating the possible political scenario. Although agitating Madheshi and Janjati groups have yet to make a statement, Prime Minister Dahal said that his government’s top priority is to seek the amendment of constitution.
With the amendment of constitution, and receiving the report from Local Body Restructuring Commission, the prime minister is looking to hold the local body elections by mid-April.
Impeachment Motion and Constitution Amendment
As there is a direct link between the impeachment motion and constitution amendment, it is likely that both will move simultaneously. Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba has indicated that his party will support the impeachment motion. However, they want their role to be recognized.
As Nepali Congress youth leader and minister of health Gagan Thapa has already said that supporting the impeachment motion is the right time to bury the past differences among the three parties. Minister Thapa pointed out that the 3-party consensus politics will again come to line following the impeachment motion.
As scheduled, the impeachment motion against CIAA chief Karki will be tabled at the Meeting of Legislature Parliament, the discussion on the motion will start within a few days.
As major political parties are virtually on consensus to pass the impeachment motion against Karki, the motion will be passed but CPN-UML will have to give up its rigid stand against the amendment of constitution.
As the impeachment motion will end the authoritative actions of CIAA chief Karki and his bullying, it will also soften the stand of CPN-UML against the amendment of constitution.