News Digest – Politics & Governance (March 4 – March 10, 2021)


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Politics & Democracy

Nepal Communist Party (NCP): The Central Committee meeting of the NCP’s Dahal-Nepal faction decided to remove Subash Nembang from the party’s Standing Committee. Nembang was also directed to resign from the parliamentary party’s deputy leader. The faction also removed Prabhu Sah, Surya Thapa, Karna Thapa, and Shanta Chaudhary from the Central Committee.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal-Prachanda was chosen as NCP’s parliamentary party leader by the Dahal-Nepal faction. The faction reached the Election Commission (EC) to express its dissatisfaction with the EC’s delay in resolving the party’s legitimacy dispute.

Senior leader Bamdev Gautam said that the party’s second-rank leaders should surround Oli and Dahal from all sides and campaign for the party’s unity.

Nepali Congress (NC): As the Oli-Dahal tussle peaked and the EC stalled making decision on their legitimacy claim, the opposition Nepali Congress continued to show its confusion  regarding its position. While the party president Deuba and general secretary Shashank Koirala said that Nepali Congress should extend its support to Oli (with NC’s leadership) and Dahal-Nepal, respectively, senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel cautioned that the party has received a mandate to say in the opposition and, therefore, should not be joining the government. Poudel claimed that the NC’s morality will not allow the party to support Oli.

Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat said that Nepali Congress should join the government only in its own leadership.

Speaking at an event on March 6, 2021, NC president Deuba said that he does not want to be the prime minster.

Biplab in the Mainstream Politics: On March 4, 2021, the government reached a three-point agreement with the outlawed Netra Bikram Chand Biplab-led Nepal Communist Party, which brought Biplab to the mainstream non-violent politics. The government agreed to unban the party and release all its cadres, and the party to stop using violence. As per the agreement, the party’s leader Dharmendra Bastola was released on the same day.

Dahal welcomed Biplab‘s transition to the mainstream politics and requested him to join his party.

The Parliament Resumes: After the Supreme reversed PM Oli’s dissolution move and restored the Lower House of the Federal Parliament, the House convened on March 7, 2021. However, the session was ended and postponed till March 10, 2021, after the Dahal-Nepal faction obstructed the parliament. The faction boycotted the meeting because it was unhappy to see the government’s presentation -of ordinances on the agenda.

The opposition Nepali Congress and Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal also obstructed the parliament, demanding the government’s withdrawal of the ordinances.

The Revival of NCP–UML and NCP–MC: On March 7, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in the favor Rishiram Kattel, who had filed a case against the Election Commission (EC) for registering Nepal Communist Party (NCP)—a name that was already taken by Kattel’s party. The SC’s decision took the NCP–UML and NCP–MC merger back to its pre-unification state, ordering that if the parties want to keep the unity, they will have to decide immediately. After the court’s decision, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) no more exists as a party, legally at least.

The SC’s decision has added further complications to Nepal’s politics and governance, for questions about what happens to the 46 representatives elected as NCP candidates remain unanswered.

Disappointed at the Supreme Court’s ruling, Madhav Nepal alleged that the court’s verdict hampers him the most, for he will now be forced to stick with Oli under the same party NCP–UML. 

While Oli sympathizers seem to be welcoming of the court’s move, others accuse the court of overstepping into politics and deciding on issues that was not originally requested of.

Meanwhile, the SC’s judgement has exposed a growing politicization of “independent” constitutional bodies, as the news of a EC being pressured to register Nepal Communist Party (NCP) back in 2018 surfaced.

Forming/Saving the Government: If the NCP-MC withdraws its support to the government, PM Oli will move ahead by taking a vote of confidence, remarked the prime minister, “I will soon revive the NCP–UML and call for its Central Committee meeting.”

The NCP–MC has been consulting with opposition Nepali Congress and Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal for a possible coalition government of the three parties.

After the SC’s decision that took the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to its pre-merger state, the Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal has automatically become an important part of the equation to form the next government. For the same, both Oli-led NCP–UML and Dahal-led NCP–MC have been trying to woo the JSPN—the former to stay in the power and the latter to unseat Oli. The Madhes-based party, however, has its own set of demands before committing to either of the parties.

Corruption & Governance

The government has sought a written commitment from the banned Netra Bikram Chand group to ‘peaceful politics’. During the two rounds of talks in Baluwatar on March 3, the government team made a formal proposal to lift the ban, withdraw the case, and move ahead with the release of jailed leaders and activists.

The government and Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN (Maoist) reached a three-point agreement on March 4, Thursday. Then the government lifted the ban on the Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand. The agreement was approved by the cabinet meeting on the evening of March 4, said Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Ganesh Singh Thagunna.

The agreement reached between the government and the Communist Party of Nepal on March 4 was signed between special programs on March 5. The agreement was signed by Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and CPN (Maoist) spokesperson and party spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma at the National Assembly House.

The CPN-Dahal-Nepal group is going to the Election Commission. Leader Rajendra Pandey informed that the election committee had a discussion with both the party presidents Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal on March 4 regarding the delay in giving official status to the party. According to him, the Dahal-Nepal faction has already applied to the Election Commission for the party’s official status and the issue of whether to join the commission again will be decided by the discussion to be held on Friday morning.

The CPN is going to announce the United Revolutionary People’s Council. It was informed at a press conference held in the capital on Thursday that the meeting of the Political Council held on March 3 and 4 decided to hold a declaration meeting of the United Revolutionary People’s Council in Kathmandu on March 6.

The CPN-Dahal-Nepal faction has informed the Federal Parliament Secretariat about the removal of parliamentary party leader KP Sharma Oli, Deputy Leader Subash Nemwang, Whip Shanta Chaudhary and others.

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