Government shutdown ends in Nepal; Parliament passes revised budget

Nepali Parliament on Thursday passed the country’s annual budget which was approved hours later by President Bidya Devi Bhandari, effectively ending the government shutdown which lasted slightly over a week

Sep 23, 2021
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Government shutdown ends in Nepal

Nepali Parliament on Thursday passed the country’s annual budget which was approved hours later by President Bidya Devi Bhandari, effectively ending the government shutdown which lasted slightly over a week. The government went into shutdown on Wednesday last week after its initial attempt to pass the bill failed as the main opposition party had been protesting the conduct of the national assembly’s speaker. Thereafter, the ruling alliance and the opposition party held negotiations to end the deadlock.  

“The President has already authenticated the Appropriation Bill-2021,”   Spokesperson of the President’s Office Jaganath Pant, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu newspaper. The bill was passed on Thursday with the majority without any discussion after no member raised objections or suggested any amendment.

The government had presented the bill first on 10 September, six days before the shutdown deadline. However, the main opposition party CPN-UML, led by former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, insisted on the suspension of the 16 members who switched from his switch--a demand refused by the speaker.

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. 

The CPN-UML had also filed a petition in the apex court, seeking directions to the speaker to suspend those rebels. To Oli’s dismay, the court this week refused to pass any interim order on the case.

The shutdown and partisan politics also drew widespread condemnation from the general public which called the attitude of political parties “irresponsible.”

(SAM)