POLITICSConfrontation Ahead

The slow pace of debate on the impeachment motion against CIAA chief Karki indicates that parties are quietly bargaining for constitution amendment

Nov. 21, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 10. No.7, November 18, (Mangsir. 03,2073)

As the Federal Alliance served a 15-day ultimatum to prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal for moving a constitutional amendment bill in the parliament with a threat to launch a new stir, the future political course is entangled in uncertainty as the priority of the leaders of three major parties differ on constitutional amendment bill and impeachment motion against Lokman Singh Karki, chief of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). 

As the impeachment motion tabled in the parliament against CIAA chief is a prestige issue for Prime Minister Prachanda and CPN-UML leader K.P. Sharma Oli, the constitutional amendment bill is the prestige issue for Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba.

As Federal Alliance demands their concern be addressed, the parliament is debating on the impeachment motion registered against CIAA chief Karki. Rejecting to support the bill on constitutional amendment to address the issue of Madhesh, CPN-UML regards passing impeachment motion is their topmost priority.

“I have been discussing the agenda of constitutional amendment bill with the leaders of three major political parties. Passing constitution amendment bill and impeachment motion against Karki is necessary to save the democracy in Nepal,” prime minister Prachanda told Federal Alliance leader Upendra Yadav. “Fifteen days will be enough for me to forge consensus among three parties.”

Taking public stand against constitutional amendment, CPN-UML wants to pass impeachment motion against Karki as its priority. “We don’t need amendment on the constitution to fulfill the demands of fringe parties. Let's unite to pass impeachment motion against Karki,” said Oli. "CPN-UML will not bow down to any unnecessary political pressure.”

Whatever the political posture CPN-UML is taking now, it is trapped in a process where it has a very few options before it. If the impeachment motion fails, it will be a great setback to CPN-UML and a political risk.

For Maoist Center, failure to push the agenda of constitution amendment and impeachment motion is another major political gambling. If they fail to pass both the bills, it will bear the bigger brunt of political setback than the two other parties.

Standing on the safe side, Nepali Congress has nothing as it has no role in registering the impeachment motion. Nepali Congress can support the impeachment motion only on the ground that CPN-UML agrees for the amendment of constitution.

“As long as CPN-UML does not change its hard stand, nothing is possible. There will be a 'give and take' with CPN-UML in case they support the constitution amendment bill,” Deputy Prime Minister Bimlendra Nidhi told New Spotlight. "We open our doors for political consensus and there is a need to have political consensus among three parties to implement the constitution and address the on-going political crisis."

Although publicly leaders of three major political parties are taking different stands, they have been negotiating on the issues quietly. “I have been in a close contract with CPN-UML leader K.P. Sharma Oli and we are closer to making a breakthrough,” said Prime Minister Dahal. “We have an understanding with NC leaders and we will make similar understanding with CPN-UML within two weeks.”

As three parties are busy in ending the deadlock, Federal Alliance leaders are preparing to launch another major political agitation against the three parties and constitution.

“We don’t care what the priority of the three parties is. Our priority is to amend the constitution to accommodate Madheshis, Dalit, ethnic groups and other minorities,” said Yadav. “This is the last chance for them. After this, we will take our own course.”

As there is no clear sign yet of the major political issues easing away soon, the country stands at the threshold of a major political and constitutional crisis.

 

Keshab Poudel

Keshab Poudel

Poudel is the editor of New Spotlight Magazine.

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