KATHMANDU, May 30: President Ram Baran Yadav Tuesday declared the Baburam Bhattarai-led government a caretaker one, arguing that the prime minister is no longer a member of the Constituent Assembly, a constitutional requirement for a prime minister to continue in office.
The president issued a statement Tuesday evening making the declaration and asked Prime Minister Bhattarai to take responsibility for day-to-day state affairs.
Similarly, the president has also called all the political parties to promote the culture of political understanding and collaboration as per the spirit of the Interim Constitution in the changed political context.
According to Baluwatar sources, the president took the step after consulting the prime minister. The prime minister had met the president on Tuesday morning to discuss the constitutionality of the government decision to hold a fresh election to the Constituent Assembly.
President Ram Baran Yadav with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai (FILE PHOTO)
While making the declaration in the statement, the president also asked the prime minister and his government to run the day-to-day state affairs as per Article 38 (9) of the interim constitution until a new government is formed.
While issuing the directive, the president invoked Article 38 (7) (B) of the interim constitution that sets conditions for the term of office of the prime minister. It says that the prime minister should be a member of the legislature-parliament. But the prime minister is no longer a member of parliament with the expiry of the Constituent Assembly.
The prime minister´s personal secretary Ganga Shrestha said the president´s announcement is positive. "The president has played the role of the guardian [of the constitution]. There´s nothing negative about it," he said.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, the prime minister had sought the president´s cooperation on holding the CA election as the constitution is silent on the issue.
"He sought the president´s cooperation. In response, the president told the prime minister that he would extend his cooperation only as long as the prime minister moved ahead in a democratic path," said Rajendra Dahal, the president´s press advisor.
The prime minister told the president that he would try to move forward by forging consensus among the political parties.
"We should now move ahead by forging consensus as there is no constitutional provision on holding the CA election for the second time," the prime minister was quoted as saying to the president.