Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the rival faction of the ruling party led by Pushpa Kumar Dahal, alias Prachanda, are heading for a confrontation this week over the possible appointment of former Interior Secretary Prem Kumar Rai as the next most important leader. Himalayan nation’s anti-graft surveillance dog. .
President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Tuesday afternoon signed an executive order to reduce the quorum for meetings of the Constitutional Council chaired by the prime minister, which is empowered to appoint officials to constitutional bodies such as the powerful Commission to Investigate Abuse of Authority.
The ordinance was issued a few hours after the president of the House of Representatives, Agni Sapkota, omitted the council meeting, forcing Prime Minister Oli to reschedule it later in the evening. “The speaker could not attend the meeting of the Constitutional Council, because he lacked the preparations and homework … Also, there was no coordination from [council] President, ”said Sapkota’s press adviser Shreedhar Neupane, according to the Kathmandu Post.
Once an ordinance was issued reducing the council’s quorum from six to four, Prime Minister Oli convened a council meeting on Tuesday night.
Apart from Prime Minister Oli, the other members of the council are the chief judge, the speaker, the vice-president, the president of the National Assembly and the leader of the opposition. The post of Vice President is vacant.
“Today’s meeting of the Constitutional Council discussed the appointments in various vacant constitutional commissions,” National Assembly Speaker Ganesh Prasad Timilsina said after the meeting, according to Nepal’s Kantipur website. He did not elaborate.
Observers in Nepal have said that Prime Minister Oli wants the council to appoint former Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai to lead the strong Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority as chief commissioner. The Commission is mandated by the Constitution to investigate public officials and their associates for corruption.
The leaders of the ruling Prachanda faction point out that any appointment by the Oli-led government before holding consultations with the Prachanda faction would be a violation of the peace pact between Prime Minister Oli and Prachanda.
One of the conditions for allowing Prime Minister Oli to continue as PCN president and prime minister was for him to consult with the party leadership before making a key political decision or appointment.
Prime Minister Oli’s rivals suspect the prime minister would like the anti-graft commission to investigate Prachanda and his associates who have put pressure on him to resign.
The PCN was formed in 2018 with the merger of the Communist Party of Nepal, before Prime Minister Oli (Unified Marxist-Leninist), and the Communist Party of Nepal led by Prachanda (Maoist Center). The honeymoon, however, did not last long and the merged entity that came to power, PCN, was looking at a split for months.
Prime Minister Oli’s hasty effort to get the appointment of the head of the anti-graft watchdog comes just before the Communist Party Standing Committee meeting, where Prachanda and his associates, including former Prime Minister Madhav Nepal, are expected to put pressure on Prime Minister Oli to give up and go ahead with key appointments only after consulting them.