News Digest – Democracy and Governance (April 22 – 28, 2021)

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Domestic Politics

CPN–UML: Oli-Nepal Meeting after Five Months

Photos: RSS

Ending a five-month long silence, PM and CPN–UML chief KP Sharma Oli and senior leader Madhav Nepal held a one-on-one dialogue on April 21, 2021. In the dialogue, which continued on April 22, Nepal urged Oli to work to save party unity, whereas Oli asked Nepal to return to the party by abandoning all factional activities. 

Later, PM Oli boasted that he has been trying to convince Nepal despite the latter’s recent efforts to open a ‘new’ party.

The two-day dialogue, however, ended without any progress—keeping the intra-party dispute where it had been—after PM Oli refused Nepal’s request to take the party back to its pre-merger state.

CPN–UML: Party Convention Organizing Committee Meeting

A meeting of the party’s 10th General Convention Organizing Committee, on April 23, formed a new standing committee, which includes former CPN–MC leaders who joined the party as well as Bamdev Gautam—but no leaders close to Madhav Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal.

The meeting also divided the work responsibility of the 10th General Convention Organizing Committee members; no leaders of the Nepal’s group was given any responsibility

Stating that local level elections will be conducted by the month of Falgun (February/March 2022), PM Oli also instructed all to start preparing for the same. 

PM Oli’s hardened stance and his recent actions— including the formation of new standing committee, stripping off responsibilities from leaders close to Nepal, and expulsion of party leaders who crossed the floor in Karnali against party’s whip—indicate that CPN–UML is headed towards a vertical split.

In another meeting on April 25, the committee decided to wait and see before penalizing the 10 party leaders, including Nepal and Khanal. According to the report, some leaders advised Oli to not allow the anti-Oli faction a chance to claim that they would not have crossed the floor in a no-confidence motion against Oli.

CPN–Maoist Centre 

A standing committee meeting of the CPN–MC, on April 21, decided to withdraw the party’s support to the Oli-led government.

CPN–MC’s standing committee meeting decided to make a 35% mandatory female participation in all its committees—from ward to the center. 

Nepali Congress (NC) 

NC’s Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting is set to begin on April 28, 2021, after over 100 of its members tested negative in the Covid-19 PCR test. The meeting was initially scheduled for April 26 but was postponed due to Covid-19 related health concerns. The committee will be discussing Nepal’s current political affairs and the party’s upcoming general convention. 

The NC–Maoist Centre Agreement

Nepali Congress and the CPN–MC reached an agreement to pass an amended Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact, after the former launches a successful vote of no confidence againt PM Oli and forms a new government under its leadership.

The NC–CPN-MC agreement to move forward with a no-confidence motion against PM Oli is hampered by JSPN’s uncertainty due to its divided house. The two parties decided to wait it out until the end of the day on April 28 before finally moving ahead and registering the motion.

Janata Samajwadi Party, Nepal (JSPN)

The JSPN president Mahanta Thakur briefed lawmakers close to him that a dialogue with the government regarding the party’s demands was underway; he also said that if the demands are met, his party will support the Oli-led government.

Governance and Corruption

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal made a request to the Nepali embassy in New Delhi to seek assistance for supply of intensive care unit beds, supply of oxygen, and antiviral drugs, and Remdesivir from India.

Hand-washing stations in Kathmandu, which were installed last year by governmental organizations, NGOs, local wards, clubs, and private companies, are currently not in condition, even though authorities said they would repair these stations.

After private labs produced fake negative reports for Covid-19, only five private labs are now allowed to test foreign travellers for Covid-19. The five facilities are–Star Hospital, Nepal Medicity Hospital, HAMS Hospital, Manmohan Memorial Medical College, Teaching Hospital, and Universal College of Medical Science.

The government has started talking to oxygen cylinder suppliers fearing that there might be a shortage. Although, currently, there is enough oxygen, the supply could decrease if hospitals start storing large amounts of surplus supply of oxygen.

The Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament had ordered the Nepal Army to cancel the bidding process for two tunnels and several bridges which are 2.77 kilometers long, however, since Nepal Army hasn’t done so, the PAC recently sought clarification.

The Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre meeting on April 25 allowed local district administrations to impose restrictions on activities if active cases exceed beyond certain limits. CCMC also decided to impose restrictions on foreigners entering Nepal.

The Supreme Court, in a verdict on April 21, decided to bar the CIAA from carrying out sting operations. However, the fate of people already convicted on corruption cases and sub judice court cases is uncertain.

District offices in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur gave out prohibitory orders in the Valley starting Thursday following the increase in Covid-19 cases. Vehicles will be barred from moving and shops will only be allowed to open between 5 am and 10 am.

The no confidence motion filed against Gandaki Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung on April 15 by 28 members of the Provincial Assembly including members of Nepali Congress, Maoist Center, and Janata Samajbadi Party has been tabled.

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