KATHMANDU, June 12: The caretaker government and the alliance of agitating opposition parties are at loggerheads over promulgation of ordinances relating to anti-money laundering and also a budget for the coming fiscal year 2012-13.
With this development, the office of the president finds itself in a difficult position as the government has sought the president´s support for the promulgation of ordinances related to anti-money laundering while the opposition parties are against this.
A joint meeting of various opposition parties including Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML held NC headquarters at Sanepa Monday evening has vowed to thwart the government´s move to bring in the ordinances, terming this a ploy to prolong its stay in power.
The decision comes a day after caretaker Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai sought the president´s support for promulgating the ordinances and saving the country from being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental global anti-money laundering body.
Nepal needs to ratify the Extradition Bill, the Mutual Cooperation Bill and a Bill to Control Organized Crime before the FATF meeting scheduled to be held in Rome from June 18 to 22 takes any decision to place the country in the blacklist.
The joint meeting of opposition parties, while strongly denouncing the overtures of the caretaker government has decided to submit a joint memorandum to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav not to promulgate any ordinances without ´political consensus´.
"This is a move by the prime minister to run the country through ordinances after setting a precedent through promulgation of ordinances related to anti-money laundering," NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel told Republica.
Paudel said the opposition parties have vowed not to allow the ´caretaker´ government to bring in any ordinances, concluding that the present government was trying to set a ´precedent´ by showing the gravity of the consequences of failure to promulgate the ordinances on anti-money laundering. "We have asked the president not to promulgate any such ordinances. We hope the president heeds our request," Paudel further said.
However, the prime minister´s political advisor, Devendra Paudel, said there was no point protesting against the ordinances as a government in a transition period had the constitutional right to promulgate them. "Though our interim constitution does not mention anything about promulgation of ordinances in the interim period following the CA dissolution, these are day to day activities of a government that is scheduled to hold a fresh election, if we go by international practice," said Paudel.
Earlier in the morning, top NC and UML leaders had reached Shital Niwas to hold a meeting with the president shortly after their meeting held at the residence of NC General Secretary Prakash Man Singh at Chaksibari. "The president has told us that he would study it [their request to turn down the ordinances]," Paudel added.
The opposition parties have maintained that the new budget for fiscal year 2012-13 should be brought by a full-fledged government formed on the basis of national consensus. The Chaksibari meeting also discussed ways to expedite protest programs to oust Dr Bhattarai from Baluwatar at the earliest.
On Sunday, the prime minister, during his meeting with the president, handed him copies of three ordinances for study and sought his support for their promulgation. During his meeting with heads of various diplomatic missions based in Kathmandu Monday morning, Dr Bhattarai told them that the government was preparing to promulgate the ordinances to avoid Nepal being placed in the blacklist.
Source said the president has asked the prime minister to bring the ordinances through political consensus as the goverhnment was in a fix whether to promulgate the ordinances without ´political consensus´ or allow the country to get blacklisted.
Three different bills related to anti-money laundering that were tabled in parliament earlier had become stuck due to opposition by the Mohan Baidya-led faction of the Maoists.