UML obstructs House over amendment bill

April 26, 2017 00:00 AM Republica

Move poses challenge to endorsing amendment before candidacy registrations 
KATHMANDU, April 26: With the main opposition CPN-UML obstructing parliament on Tuesday, the government has run into a hurdle right from the start of its effort to get the revised constitution amendment bill endorsed through a fast-track process. 

Objecting to a circular allegedly dispatched by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development to local level government bodies to increase the number of local units at a time when  the May 14 local polls are just around the corner, UML lawmakers stood at their seats and obstructed the House meeting.

The House was scheduled to begin preliminary deliberations on the constitution amendment bill tabled by the government   Monday. Once the deliberations conclude, the way would have been cleared for  lawmakers to register any further amendments to the bill within 72 hours. 

The government has agreed with the agitating Madhes-based political parties to revise the under-discussion amendment bill and  register further amendments. 

Leaders of the ruling parties say that the House obstruction by the UML would affect the government's plans to endorse the amendment bill before May 2, the date by  which the. Election Commission is scheduled to register candidacies for the local polls. The agitating parties have told the government they would file their candidacies  only if the government amended the constitution prior to the EC deadline.

UML lawmakers stood at their seats before the House could take up the amendment bill. They accused the government of trying to increase the number of local units in contravention  of constitutional provisions. 

“It has been learnt that the Ministry of Local Development has issued a circular to  local level government bodies to increase the number of local units. If this is true the environment for  local polls is certain to be vitiated as this will be against the constitutional parameters,” said UML lawmaker Ganga Lal Tuladhar speaking in the House. He further said  the government is acting under a ploy not to hold the local polls.

Tuladhar demanded a ruling from the Speaker to the government to inform  parliament about this issue. After the Speaker declined to issue any ruling,  UML lawmakers obstructed  House proceedings.

Though the House meeting was at first deferred for only 15 minutes, the parliament secretariat later postponed the meeting till Wednesday as the government and the opposition  failed to agree on resuming the meetings. 

Meanwhile, the CPN-UML Standing Committee meeting on Tuesday has decided to protest strongly  against the constitution amendment bill tabled in parliament.

The meeting held at UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli's residence at Balkot also concluded that the amendment bill was against the interests of the country, the spirit of the constitution and the  aspirations of the people.

“The meeting draws the attention of the government to withdraw the amendment bill  as it is against the spirit of taking major decisions through consensus among the big political parties which worked together in past movements,” reads a press release issued after the meeting. 

The UML Standing Committee has also  objected to the decision of the government to hold the second-phase  local polls after the presentation of the new budget. Citing a mandatory provision on unveiling the budget by Jestha 15 (May 29), the UML has termed the decision to hold second-phase polls only after a month as ill-intentioned. 

A team of UML leaders has meanwhile reached the Election Commission  to draw its attention to the latest development, stating that the  amendment bill will push the country toward perpetual conflict.

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