Nepal government’s hopes of holding early polls to elect a new Constituent Assembly has got a setback with President Ram Baran Yadav rejecting two election-related ordinances.
The move has resulted in friction between Yadav and the Maoist-Madhesi coalition led by Baburam Bhattarai and raised doubts on the country getting a new constitution soon.
Last month the cabinet had forwarded two ordinances to Yadav, which if approved would have cleared legal and constitutional hurdles to hold elections for a new CA.
But Yadav refused to endorse the ordinances citing Election Commission’s inability to hold fresh polls on November 22, the date announced by Bhattarai following CA dissolution in May.
A statement issued on Friday by the President’s Office stated that in view of “changed circumstances” there was “no relevance” of the two ordinances.
Since Yadav had endorsed two ordinances on anti-money laundering in June, the latest move came as a surprise to the government and has evoked sharp reactions from Bhattarai’s office.
“The President doesn’t have the authority to reject the ordinances recommended by the government,” Bhattarai’s political advisor Devendra Paudel told ‘The Himalayan Times’.
Terming Yadav’s act as an attack on democratic norms, he said the government would resend them for the President’s endorsement.
Friday’s development is an example of the political and constitutional crisis in Nepal following dissolution of the CA in May without promulgating a new constitution.
As the CA (which doubled as parliament) ceased to exist President termed the government as ‘caretaker’, but Bhattarai has refused to accept that status.
Though consensus among parties is need of the hour, opposition parties have refused to take part in elections till Bhattarai resigns and a national unity government is constituted.
Bhattarai has refused to budge. He wants to remain in power till fresh polls or at least till there’s agreement among parties on the next government and contentious issues of the new constitution.
For Yadav, Nepal’s first President, it is not the first instance of disagreement with a Maoist-led government.
Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda had resigned from the prime minister’s post in 2009 after Yadav refused to approve the government’s move to remove the sitting Nepal Army chief.