Constitution amendment

News Digest (September 10-16, 2020)

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Democracy & Governance

Domestic Politics

Nepal Communist Party (NCP): According to the NCP’s agreement proposal, the two chairpersons will move ahead with their more refined roles; while PM Oli will continue as the country’s executive chief, Dahal will be the party’s executive head.[1]

Despite leader Nepal’s disagreement, the chair persons Oli and Dahal have decided to take the taskforce’s report to the standing committee meeting for discussion.[2]

NCP’s long intra-party dispute appears to have ended after the senior leaders agreed to a 15-point proposal, the most notable being Oli’s continuation as the prime minister and Dahal’s elevation to the party’s executive chairman.[3] The party also finally ended its standing committee meeting on the 79th day.[4]

After the standing committee meeting on September 12, an intra-party directive-5 was sent to all the party committees.[5]

After their agreement, the two chairpersons have proposed a strict ban on criticism against ‘party policies, leaders, and cadres’ from within the party.

According to the party’s spokesperson, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the NCP has also decided to reshuffle the cabinet.[6]

Amidst the ongoing feud within the party, the ruling NCP has been accused of sidelining the primary concern of the Nepali public—the Covid-19 pandemic.[7]

Addressing the ex-Maoists’ concerns of not having official (printed) records of their cadres’ association, the NCP settled their long-pending disagreement on membership renewal by allowing renewal based on handwritten notes.[8]

Despite an almost two-third majority in the parliament, the ruling NCP failed in its governance, whereas the opposition Nepali Congress was seen weaker than ever.[9]

A meeting of the council of minister on September 16 recommended Bamdev Gautam’s name to the president for NA appointment.[10] Despite his certain appointment to the NA, legal and constitutional complexities may prove barriers to his desire to be a minister.[11]

After failing reappoint him as the finance minister, PM Oli appointed Dr. Yuvaraj Khatiwada as his special economic advisor, giving him equal status and benefits as a minister. The move has invited a widespread criticism.[12]

Nepali Congress (NC): NC’s general convention scheduled for February is likely to be postponed due to the delay in active membership distribution, caused by the pandemic.[13]

While the ruling NCP has disappointed the public with its governance, Nepali Congress has failed to reap its benefit by establishing itself as a responsible opposition party. On the same account, NC’s shadow government held only two meetings in the last 1.5 years and did almost nothing substantial.[14] 

Others: Nepal police has been violating court’s repeated orders and re-arresting leaders of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal.[15]

Governance

Inter-district vehicular movement and domestic flights: The cabinet meeting has decided to allow long-distance public transports and domestic airlines to resume from September 21.[16] This comes in the light of festivals starting in October. These services have remained shut for more than six months, since March 2020. Although international flights have opened in the country, the restriction for foreign tourists’ entry has still not been lifted.[17]

New government spokesperson: The cabinet meeting on September 14 decided to appoint the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali as the new government spokesperson.[18] Prior to Gyawali, the position was held by former Minister of Finance and Communication Yubaraj Khatiwada. The position had been vacant since Khatiwada resigned from his positions on September 4.[19]

Omni Group: The government has blacklisted the Omni Group from public procurement contracts for a year. The company was supplying various medical equipment for COVID-19 response. However, the equipment was found to be sub-par. The company earned an ill repute after the media reports reported irregularities in its dealings. Issuing a notice on September 14, the Public Procurement Monitoring Office of the Prime Minister informed that Omni Group has been black-listed for a year as per the recommendation of Department of Health Services.[20]


[1] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/50901/2020-09-10

[2] https://ekantipur.com/news/2020/09/10/159970408285579157.html

[3] https://ekantipur.com/news/2020/09/12/15998722747438330.html

[4] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/51023/2020-09-12

[5] https://deshsanchar.com/2020/09/15/412371/

[6] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/51065/2020-09-13

[7] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2020/09/13/in-the-ruling-party-leaders-focus-has-been-on-one-upmanship-not-covid-19

[8] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/51127/2020-09-14

[9] https://kathmandupost.com/politics/2020/09/14/thirty-months-of-poor-governance-and-weak-opposition

[10] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/51192/2020-09-14

[11] https://www.nayapatrikadaily.com/news-details/51197/2020-09-15

[12] https://deshsanchar.com/2020/09/15/412646/

[13] https://ekantipur.com/news/2020/09/10/159970487287499003.html

[14] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2020/09/15/in-one-and-a-half-years-all-congress-shadow-government-did-was-hold-two-meetings

[15] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2020/09/12/in-cases-involving-members-of-chand-led-outfit-police-are-violating-court-orders

[16] https://kathmandupost.com/national/2020/09/15/domestic-flights-long-distance-transport-to-resume-next-week

[17] https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/inter-district-vehicular-movement-to-resume-from-september-21/

[18] https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/foreign-minister-gyawali-appointed-new-govt-spokesperson/

[19] https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/foreign-minister-gyawali-is-new-govt-spokesperson/

[20] https://english.onlinekhabar.com/omni-group-barred-from-public-procurement-contracts-for-one-year.html

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