First HoR session of reinstated parliament begins today

After the Supreme Court’s verdict overturned Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s December 20 decision to dissolve the lower house of parliament, the first meeting of the reinstated House of Representatives (HoR) is all set to commence today afternoon.

On the recommendation of Council of Ministers, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has called the House session at 4:00 pm today citing Article 93 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal.

The winter session meeting of the 275-member lower house was due to begin before January 2 as per the constitution. The interval between the two sessions shall not be more than six months, the statute states.

However, that did not happen as Prime Minister Oli dissolved parliament on December 20 last year. The Supreme Court, in its landmark verdict on February 23, overturned the dissolution move calling it unconstitutional and ordered the government to call HoR session within 13 days from the verdict date.

Meanwhile, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-Madhav Kumar Nepal faction is said to be preparing to register a vote of no-confidence against PM Oli at today’s House session.

A parliamentary party meeting of the faction held on Friday decided to file the no-confidence motion against the prime minister, according to leaders of the faction.

A lawmaker belonging to the Dahal-Nepal faction said that at least 111 parliamentarians had already signed the no-confidence motion against Oli.

Oli, on the other hand, has said he will face parliament as well as vote of no confidence, if registered, and has refused to resign in moral grounds.

While many were expecting him to step down from his post following the court’s verdict, Oli said that he would not resign as the court had not asked him to do so.

He has been persistently claiming that he still holds a majority in the parliamentary party and parliament.

Prime Minister Oli recently appointed Bishal Bhattarai as the party’s chief whip, removing Dev Gurung from the post. The Dahal-Nepal-led faction took the opportunity to appoint Gurung as its chief whip.

The 275-member HoR comprises 173 members from the Nepal Communist Party, including Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota, 61 MPs from the main opposition party Nepali Congress, and 32 MPs from the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP).

One post of lawmaker is vacant following the demise of Sanu Shiva of NCP while two MPs each from the Nepali Congress and JSP have been suspended as per court orders.

As per the constitutional provision, one member each representing Rastriya Janamorcha, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Nepal Majdur Kisan Party are also in parliament with a status of independent parliamentarians.

With this, as many as 270 lawmakers, including House Speaker, are likely to be present in today’s HoR session.

Similar to the previous sessions, the formality of reading out the letter from the Office of the President and address by the top leaders of the political parties represented in parliament will be carried out in the initial phase of the session.