KATHMANDU, April 28: Although the opposition alliance has vowed to foil the constitution amendment bill, the ruling parties are inching closer to securing the requisite two-thirds majority of votes in favor of the 11-point constitution amendment bill tabled earlier in parliament.
The ruling parties came closer to achieving the required two-third majority after a few fringe parties that were earlier part of the opposition alliance joined the ruling block.
As the total strength of parliament currently stands at 593 members, the government requires 396 votes to endorse the amendment bill through a two-third majority vote. With the decision of Janamukti Party lawmakers Shiva Lal Thapa and Seema Kumari BK to join the ruling block, the government is now short of just one vote.
Likewise, Nepal Family Party led by Ek Nath Dhakal is positive towards extending support to the government for constitution amendment. During a meeting with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday evening, Dhakal said he was in favor of a political way out for the country through constitution amendment.
"The prime minister has asked us to support the constitution amendment bill. I told him that our party will decide within a few days. We are in favor of a political way out by bringing even the UML on board," Dhakal told Republica.
Dhakal, whose party has two seats in parliament, had reached the prime minister's official residence at Baluwatar shortly after attending a meeting of the opposition alliance organized by main opposition party CPN-UML. The government will be in a comfortable position for securing a two-third majority with 397 votes should Dhakal's party join the ruling alliance for the voting.
Currently, the ruling alliance includes Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party, the newly-formed Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, Nepal Loktantrik Party led by Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, and Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal led by Upendra Yadav, among other parties.
Likewise, the UML-led opposition alliance includes CPN(ML), Nepal Workers Peasants Party, Rastriya Janmorcha, Bahujan Shakti Party, Bouddik Jantantrik Parishad and Madhes Samata Party.
The opposition alliance, which had a total 201 seats in parliament, now has only 196 committed votes.
Opposition alliance vows to foil bill
Expressing serious reservations over the proposed amendment to the new constitution, the opposition alliance led by the UML has vowed to foil it.
A meeting of the alliance held at the UML's parliamentary party office at Singha Durbar on Thursday took the decision, saying the proposals made in the amendment bill were 'anti-national'. "The bill in its proposed shape is not acceptable to us. We will do whatever it takes to stop the anti-national bill," said CPN ML Chair CP Mainali.
Mainali said the opposition alliance would make its position clear once the government comes out with the details of the bill. "We don't exactly know the extent of changes they are preparing to make in the constitution. But we cannot support any proposal that seeks to weaken the local level. We also cannot support other disputed issues related to provincial boundaries," he said.
Mainali also said that the opposition parties would jointly and separately register additional amendment bills in parliament after examining the final amendment bill of the ruling parties.
PM calls all-party meeting for Friday
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has called a meeting of all political parties represented in parliament for Friday.
According to Gobinda Acharya, the prime minister's press adviser, Prime Minister Dahal is calling the meeting to hold discussions on the government's preparations for endorsing the constitution amendment bill in parliament and to hold the local level polls.
Acharya said Prime Minister Dahal will try to solicit the support of all parties to endorse the amendment bill and make the elections a success, as this was the collective responsibility of all parties in parliament. "The time and venue of the meeting have not been fixed yet," he told Republica.