News Digest – Democracy & Governance (January 28 – February 3)

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Democracy & Politics

Oli begins his election campaign: KP Oli’s Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has been organizing functions and programs over the period of last one month. The party announced its mass gathering and show of strength on February 5 centered in the capital. Oli claimed to demonstrate “how to mobilize the masses and how a mass gathering is organized.”

Party legitimacy dispute: The poll body, on Friday, organized a meeting among two factions–one led by KP Oli and the other by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal in order to mitigate the ongoing political stalemate between the two parties and to register for the elections, but Dahal and Nepal faction did not show up for the meeting.

Congress uncertain about its general convention: Since the deferral of 14th general convention owing to COVID crisis, Nepali Congress is in no hurry to hold the convention. The party must hold the convention not later than September, as per the legal and constitutional provisions. The vice-president of the party stated that the party is waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on House dissolution to take the decision to hold the general convention.

Oli awarding projects despite being a caretaker PM: Prime Minister KP Oli addressed a mass meeting in Chitwan on January 30. The PM inaugurated the local city, defying the mayor of Bharatpur. Moreover, a caretaker PM does not hold any moral locus to inaugurate new development projects. In contrary, PM Oli inaugurated Rapti River Bridge on January 25 and six other projects in Dang district. Further, on February 1, the prime minister inaugurated the largest transmission station in Dhanusha district.

Dahal-Nepal faction to claim over NCP: Dahal-Nepal faction and other members of the party including Jhala Nath Khanal, Barshaman Pun, Rajendra Pande and Ghanshyam Bhusal went to Election Commission to legitimize their party. They registered an application along with evidence, facts and 70% of central committee member’s support. Khanal also stated that polls cannot be conducted until the political row is resolved. After the split, both the factions are trying to legitimize their party. However, Election Commission rejected the application of both the faction on January 24. Legally the party has not split.

Governance & Corruption

Myanmar Coup: Nepal has formally opposed the military coup in Myanmar. A press release issued by the Foreign Ministry called for the immediate release of the arrested President U Win Mint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. The army has seized power and arrested ministers and state leaders, including leaders of the National League for Democracy, for allegedly rigging the last general election. “Nepal is closely monitoring the developments in Myanmar. We believe that the aspirations of the people of Myanmar will be respected by all parties and that the democratic and constitutional process will be restored soon,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. Nepal has also expressed concern over the safety of the arrested President U Win Mint and State Councilor Suu Kyi.

The central committee meeting of the CPN-Prachanda-Madhav faction has decided to remove Prime Minister KP Oli from the party’s ordinary membership. A meeting held in the capital on Monday decided to expel Oli, said spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

The meeting of the Bagmati Provincial Assembly has been adjourned till March 20. According to State Assembly Secretary Krishna Hari Khadka, the meeting has been postponed due to special reasons. A no-confidence motion filed against Chief Minister Dormani Poudel was postponed in the meeting of the state assembly on January 25.

MPs chanted slogans demanding a meeting of the Bagmati Provincial Assembly. After the meeting was postponed citing special reasons, lawmakers of the ruling CPN-Prachanda-Madhav group, who had filed a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Dormani Poudel, chanted slogans at the state assembly premises.

National Assembly Speaker Ganesh Timilsina objected to Speaker Agni Sapkota sending back the appointment recommendation of the Constitutional Council. The Speaker returned the letter sent by the council in order to submit it to the Parliamentary Hearing Committee for constitutional post appointment recommendations. The National Assembly Speaker expressed his objection at a press conference on Monday. He stated that the federal parliament is not unicameral and that the House of Representatives and the National Assembly have equal status. As the Parliamentary Hearing Committee is a joint committee of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly, Timilsina insists that the Speaker alone cannot make a decision.

A clash broke out between the CPN-Oli group and Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s’ Prachanda’-Madhav Kumar Nepal group in Nuwakot. Three cadres of the Prachanda-Nepal group have sustained minor injuries in the clash. Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokharel and Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi had reached Nuwakot to address the program organized by the Oli Group.

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