Frustration simmers in Nepal as government formation is delayed
The hand-over of power has become an increasingly difficult affair and experts and officials say the new governments at the centre and in the provinces are likely to be formed only after another month.world Updated: Jan 16, 2018 07:19 IST
More than a month after the Left Alliance, a coalition of two communist parties, secured an absolute majority in elections to Nepal’s federal parliament and assemblies in six of the seven provinces, the formation of new governments continues to be in limbo.
The hand-over of power has become an increasingly difficult affair because of constitutional obligations and political bickering, and experts and officials say the new governments at the centre and in the provinces are likely to be formed only after another month.
Frustration has been mounting in political circles over the government’s failure to appoint governors, who will administer the oath to the newly elected provincial lawmakers, and to name the capitals of the seven provinces that will be home to the new governors, chief ministers, provincial assemblies and new state functionaries.
“We have urged the government to appoint the governors within five days, otherwise it will be difficult for us to conduct elections to the Upper House because the members of the provincial assemblies will have to cast their votes. Before that, the governors will administer the oath to the provincial lawmakers,” chief election commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said on Monday.
The government delayed the appointments after the Left Alliance warned it would revoke the decisions after assuming power.
The Left Alliance, which has been pressuring the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government to pave the way for formation of the new governments, has accused the prime minister of being power- hunger and deliberately stalling the process of handing over power.
The deadlock has continued as Prime Minister Deuba is reportedly reluctant to step down before the formation of the new National Assembly.
The Election Commission has now set February 7 as the date for elections to the upper house, which along with the already elected lower house makes up the National Assembly.
Deuba’s Nepali Congress party and Elections Commission are of the view that without the formation of the National Assembly, the House cannot be convened and a new government cannot be formed.
But the Left Alliance has demanded the immediate resignation of the prime minister, saying the Nepali Congress lost the elections and cannot continue as the government.
After the formation of the National Assembly, the Election Commission will submit the final results to the president and publish them in the Gazette, starting the formal process of forming a new government.
As none of the political parties have an absolute majority, the president will set a deadline for a government to be formed with the support of two or more than two parties, according to the Constitution. The parties of the Left Alliance, which together have an overwhelming majority, would then stake claim to form the new government.
During a function on Monday, Prime Minister Deuba categorically denied he was lengthening his hold on power. “None of the parties secured a clear majority in the elections. Parliament has not been formed. Whom should I hand over power to?” he asked.
“It is futile to make rhetorical statements regarding handover of power without understanding the due legal process and constitutional provisions. Who will become the prime minister? I will hand over the power in a minute if a prime ministerial candidate comes up through the legal process.”
Deuba, who is also the Nepali Congress president, said the Parliament would take shape only after the election of all members of the National Assembly, and then a new government will be formed.