Nepal government faces shutdown, budget deadlock continues

Nepal has stopped all government spendings since Wednesday as the government failed to pass the budget amid a political row with the main opposition party seeking suspension of 14 of its lawmakers who switched the party

Sep 16, 2021
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Nepal government faces shutdown

Nepal has stopped all government spendings since Wednesday as the government failed to pass the budget amid a political row with the main opposition party seeking suspension of 14 of its lawmakers who switched the party. The government presented a bill on Friday last week to replace a budget that was brought by the earlier government through ordinance when the Parliament was in a dissolved state. However, the replacement bill failed to pass through the lower house as the government and the CPN-UML, the main opposition party, got into a showdown. 

The members of the CPN-UML, headed by former prime minister KP Sharma, created a ruckus in the house, demanding the speaker to terminate 14 lawmakers. 

“We will not let the House function unless the Speaker issues a notice regarding our party’s decision to expel 14 lawmakers,” Bishal Bhattarai, chief whip of the CPN-UML, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post newspaper. “This is our position.”

The all-party meeting called by the speaker to break the impasse was boycotted by the CPN-UML. And, the next meeting is scheduled for Monday. Furthermore, even if the government manages to pass the bill through the lower house without the main opposition, it will require their support in the upper house. 

Significantly, the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba, the leader of the Nepali Congress, had recently passed an ordinance to ease the rules for a split in political parties. The aim, however, was also to protect the rebel lawmakers of the main opposition from suspension. The rebels, led by Oli’s rival, Madhav Nepal, sided with Deuba in the new government. 

Meanwhile, the CPN-UML has also filed a petition in the apex court, seeking directions to the speaker to suspend those rebels. An order is also expected by Monday on the petition which will decide the fate of the rebels. 

(SAM)