Govt says ´unconstitutional´
KATHMANDU, Nov 26: President Ram Baran Yadav has said that the government should not have taken a decision to denounce his call for a consensus government as he had issued the call as per the provisions of the interim constitution.
The President told this to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai Sunday evening when the latter went to Shital Niwas to apprise the former of the cabinet decision that termed his move "unconstitutional".
"I issued the call for a consensus government to end the current political deadlock," Rajendra Dahal, president´s press advisor told Republica quoting the president. "He (the president) asked PM Bhattarai to cooperate as that would ultimately benefit the nation."
The President also told Bhattarai that the process of forming a consensus government has already begun and would continue, according to Dahal. "The president also said that Sunday´s cabinet decision would only create unwarranted breach of trust and controversy." Dahal also quoted the president as saying that the two institutions must respect each other.
A day after his party -- UCPN (Maoist) -- cold shouldered his proposal to condemn the president´s call for a consensus government, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai managed to convince his cabinet colleagues on Sunday to denounce the move as being "against the spirit of the interim constitution".
A cabinet meeting in Singh Durbar Sunday afternoon took the decision to inform the president about his "unconstitutional step" through the latter´s office, two days after the head of the state called on political parties to nominate a prime ministerial candidate through consensus.
Bhattarai later Sunday went to Shital Niwas to inform the president about the cabinet decision.
The cabinet decision came a day after his party decided to defer the protests against the presidential call saying it has come in the "broader spirit of ending the political deadlock". The Bhattarai-faction, however, had insisted that the party should react immediately against the president´s move and term it "unconstitutional".
The party´s office-bearers´ meeting later agreed to go for "soft" protests and "politically expose" the president´s move on Saturday.
However, the cabinet meeting on Sunday concluded that the president´s call is constitutionally contradictory to the letter from the office of the president which had said that the prime minister was relieved from his post as he was no more a member of parliament, according to Minister for Information and Communication Rajkishor Yadav, who is also the government´s spokesperson.
"The interim constitution has not given any right to the president to take decision at his own discretion," said Yadav after the cabinet meeting. He also informed that the government decided to inform the president that executive power rests with the government as per the article 37 (1) of the interim constitution.
The cabinet meeting also concluded that the president cannot invoke the article 36 (a) as his executive rights stating that the interim constitution has envisioned a constitutional president.
"The president can invoke article 38 (1) of the interim constitution to form a cabinet-led by prime minister only when there is a parliament," it is stated in the decision. "So, the president cannot invoke the same article at the present time."
While citing a Supreme Court verdict issued two years ago, the government claimed that the apex court had clearly stated that the executive power is vested in the council of ministers and that even the powers to be exercised by the president is not self-determining, rather it should merely be a final expression based on a recommendation by a concerned agency or officials.
The government said that the present deadlock can be ended only if the president approves recommendation made by the cabinet following consensus reached among political parties and also reiterated that it is ready to exercise maximum flexibility to end the current deadlock.