News Digest – Democracy and Governance (April 8 – 14, 2021)

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Domestic Politics

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s main opposition including Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Centre), and Janata Samajbadi Party have been holding informal talks in order to discuss how to unseat Oli. However, concrete talks between the three parties haven’t yet taken place.

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) along with Janata Samajbadi Party is offering Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba the post of prime minister as a means to unseat Prime Minister Oli.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal of Maoist Centre wrote to the Parliament Secretariat to remove Ram Bahadur Thapa, currently home minister in the Oli Cabinet, formerly elected to the upper house from the Maoist Centre from his post as lawmaker.

One third out of 22 ministers in KP Oli’s cabinet are not members of the federal parliament. Analysts say this disregards constitutional provisions. According to the constitution, although the president on the recommendation of the prime minister can appoint a federal parliament non-member as a minister, they must obtain membership within six months.

Janata Samajbadi expressed interest in forming a new government under its leadership and in electing a candidate based on consensus.
28 Provincial Assembly members of Gandaki from three parties, the Nepali Congress, Maoist Centre, and Janata Samajbadi Party, filed a no confidence motion against chief minister Prithvi Subba Gurung.

Governance and Corruption

Hari Bahadur Chuman, Minister for Internal Affairs and Law, and Lekh Bahadur Thapa, Minister for Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives resigned on April 7. CPN has left the provincial government.

Nepal-India foreign ministers held a phone conversation on April 9 following the surge in coronavirus cases. Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jainshankar discussed about ways to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jainshankar held a phone conversation with Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. Gyawali requested Jainshankhar for supply for the second dose of vaccines to Nepal.

The Social Security Fund Secretariat requested employers and their employees to register within this fiscal year. The constitution-based social security scheme rolled out two year ago, but it still has not been implemented properly.

On the occasion of the Nepali New Year 2078 on April 14, Oli gave an address to the nation, in which he talked about what his administration is doing and planning to stop the covid-19 virus. He also recounted his administration’s achievements and work.

The Supreme Court, on April 12, passed a verdict which states that nominees are qualified to become top justices at the top court even before they appear at the parliamentary hearing committee. On March 12, the Judicial Council recommended High Court chief judges Nahakul Subedi and Kumar Chandal to be appointed as justices to the Supreme Court.

Chief Minister of Gandaki Province Prithvi Subba Gurung prorogued the Provincial Assembly on April 14, fearing that a no-confidence motion may be filed against him. However, the letter was passed only on April 15 as April 14 was a public holiday. CPN-UML recommended Gokul Baskota, who was involved in the security printing press corruption case, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee. This creates a conflict of interest as those involved in corruption cases are elected as members of the Committee.

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