KATHMANDU, July 30: The parliamentary department of CPN-UML has said that the prime minister has taken an “unconstitutional move” by soliciting the president to endorse two poll-related ordinances.
A meeting of the department headed by Bharatmohan Adhikari on Sunday took a decision to this effect.
"The meeting concluded that the prime minister´s move contravenes the constitution and that it is just a ploy to prolong his stay in power," Ramnath Dhakal, secretary of the party´s parliamentary department, told Republica.
A cabinet meeting on Friday passed two election-related ordinances. Later the same day, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai forwarded them to President Ram Baran Yadav.
UML leaders claimed that the prime minister does not want election to be held. They argued that had the prime minister´s intent been honest, he would have recommended amendment to the election-related provisions in the interim constitution. Any law that contravenes the constitution automatically becomes null and void, the leaders argued.
"We have concluded that the prime minister should withdraw the ordinances and vacate Baluwatar [the prime minister´s official residence] so as to create an environment conducive to ending the ongoing political stalemate," said Dhakal.
UML leaders also accused the prime minister of moving ahead without taking any consent from major opposition parties.
However, in view of the protests from various opposition parties, President Yadav is unlikely to endorse the ordinances. Sources said the president had already conveyed this to the prime minister during their meeting on Friday. The president asked the prime minister to bring election-related ordinance only through consensus with the opposition parties. The president has also been publicly criticizing the government for “trying to run the country through ordinances”.
The Election Commission had earlier requested the government to clear legal and constitutional hurdles by third week of July so as make the Nov 22 CA election possible.
The UML leaders have also accused the government of working in a unilateral and arbitrary fashion and vowed to expose the government´s unconstitutional and unlawful acts in the public. "We took the decision with a view to stop government from working against the interest of the people and the country," said Ravindra Adhikari, another leader who was present at the meeting.
The meeting also entrusted a group of members led by Dhakal with the task of preparing a proposal on the party´s possible role UML in ending the ongoing political stalemate.
"We will prepare the proposal and submit it to the party secretariat within the next three days," said Dhakal.
Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and other opposition parties have been arguing that with the demise of CA on May 28, the prime minister´s status has been rendered to that of a caretaker one. They have been demanding that Bhattarai vacate the prime minister´s office without delay.