Democracy under threat

News Digest – Democracy & Governance September 24 – 30

Democracy & Governance, News Digest 0 Comments

Democracy

Nepal Communist Party (NCP): Responding to the writ filed against Bamdev Gautam’s appointment to the National Assembly (NA), the Supreme Court ordered a temporary ban on offering Gautam any further constitutional responsibility; the SC order temporarily ‘blocks Bamdev Gautam’s way to Cabinet.”

In a cabinet meeting on September 25, PM Oli indicated the possibility of cabinet reshuffle sooner than later; he alerted the ministers that the cabinet meeting might be their last.

Despite frequent meetings and discussions on the matter, the Cabinet reshuffle is less likely to happen before Dashain, for PM Oli has more ‘pressing issues’ to deal with for now— appointments to the constitutional bodies and universities.

PM Oli and NCP chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal continued negotiations regarding cabinet reshuffle. However, despite a lot of positivity, the failure to reach an agreement has stalled cabinet reshuffle.

PM Oli’s press advisor Surya Thapa and tourism minister Yogesh Bhattarai—both known as ‘youth leaders’—have come under heavy criticism after they made disparaging comments against the Satyagrahi doctor Govinda KC.

Nepali Congress (NC): Opposition Nepali Congress criticized the government’s ‘hasty decision’ to issue clarification on China’s alleged encroachment of Nepali territory in Humla. The party’s deputy president Bimalendra Nidhi also expressed his disappointment in the government for not making a proper investigation of the Chinese encroachment before making an official statement against the allegation.

The Poudel faction of Nepali Congress registered a protest letter against party president Sher Bahadur Deuba.

The Krishna Prasad Sitaula faction decided not to sign the protest letter.

Nepali Congress alerted the government to address and resolve the increasing cases of gender violence through proper investigation and information dissemination.

Nepali Congress has decided to choose 80 percent of the officials and members of the central working committee through the upcoming convention.

Federal Parliament and the Judiciary: Lawmaker Ram Narayan Bidari came under severe criticism for his controversial remark on rape, where he claimed that most rape cases involving adults “are not rape cases.” Other MPs such as Ganga Chaudhary Satgauwa, Dilendra Prasad Badu, and Devendra Raj Kandel have also made controversial statements that reek of a deeply embedded patriarchy in the society.

Parliamentarians have “started demanding the new session of the federal parliament,” which was prorogued by the PM when he faced a difficult situation in the party. Lawmakers claim that Oli has managed to avert the crisis and demand that he start a new session now.

Owing to their long and complex statements, courts judgements are often open to interpretation, which confuse not just laypeople but even the lawyers and law experts. Same convoluted decision was made in Gautam’s case.

Governance

The Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokhrel asked the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) to propose effective strategy plan that addresses the crisis in Nepal.

Responding to the increased instances of discrimination and torture in the name of witchcraft and untouchability, the ministry of home issued a directive that aims to stop such inhumane treatments.

With the goal of promoting domestic tourism, the ministry of culture, tourism, and civil aviation is set to propose a two-day weekend. The two-day holiday for the employees will likely enhance tourism in the country.

Addressing the UN’s 75th General Assembly discussion, PM Oli requested the leaders to make the intergovernmental organization more efficient, effective, inclusive, and transparent.

The Public Accounts Committee of the legislative parliament inquired the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) about the status of its investigation of the widebody and security press scandals.

Despite the government’s new directive to charge no more than NRs. 2000 for each PCR test, private laboratories continue to charge NRs. 4000-4500.

It has been years since Dr. Govinda KC started his first fast-unto-death demanding general public’s accessibility to health services and the improvement of health sector. However, the government repeatedly fails to implement the agreements it signs with the doctor.

Nepal Police arrested six National Students’ Union (NSU) leaders demonstrating against the ‘Chinese intervention and Encroachment.’

To settle NCP’s internal power struggle, PM Oli and NCP chief Dahal reached an agreement to split three ministries—the ministry of industry, commerce, and supplies, the ministry of energy, water resources and irrigation, and the ministry of physical infrastructure and transport.

Even after years since the promulgation of the Nepal’s new constitution, political parties have failed to adopt the country’s federal structures in their organization and operation.  Therefore, the Election Commission drew their attention to the issue.

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