Nepal stares at a showdown over appointment of anti-graft watchdog chief
New Delhi, Dec 16: A showdown is expected in Nepal over the possible appointment of former Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai as the next chief of the top anti-graft watchdog.
On Tuesday, President, Bidya Devi Bhandari signed an executive order to reduce the quorum for meetings of the prime minister headed constitutional council that is empowered to appoint officials of constitutional bodies such as the Investigation of Abuse Authority.
After the speaker of the House of Representatives, Agni Sapkota skipped the meeting of the council, Prime Minister, K P Oli was forced to reschedule the meeting for later in the evening. Following this development the ordinance was issued. The speaker was unable to attend the meeting due to the lack of preparations and homework. Further there was no coordination on the party of the council chairman, Sapkota's press advisor, Shreedhar Neupane said.
The meeting was convened later following the ordinance that brought down the quorum of the six member council to four. Apart from Oli, the other members of the council are the Chief Justice, speaker, deputy speaker, chair of the National Assembly and leader of the opposition. The post of the deputy speaker is lying vacant.
The meeting of the council discussed the appointments to various vacant constitutional commissions, National Assembly chairperson Ganesh Prasad said. Oli's push to appoint Rai has not gone down well with his rival Pushpa Kumar Dahal aka Prachanda.
The leaders of the Prachanda faction within the ruling party feel that any appointment without their consultation is a violation of the peace pact between Oli and Prachanda. One of the pre-conditions that allowed Oli to continue as the chairman of the Nepal Communist Party and Prime Minister was that he would consult the party leadership before a policy decision or a key appointment is made. The bone of contention with Rai's appointment is that Oli would like the anti-grant commission to probe Prachanda and his associates, who have been pressurising him to step down as PM.