Maoist Center eyes National Assembly chair

Kiran Poudel 06 Feb 2024
Maoist Center eyes National Assembly chair National Assembly Vice Chairperson Urmial Aryal and Maoist Center leader Narayan Dahal

KATHMANDU: While there is talk of making Nepali Congress (NC) leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula the next Chairperson of the National Assembly, there are also other aspirants from the ruling alliance. Two leaders of CPN (Maoist Center) have staked their claim for the post.

The incumbent National Assembly Vice Chairman Urmila Aryal and Narayan Dahal are the Maoist Center leaders who have expressed their desire for the post. However, the ruling coalition has not formally decided who will be its candidate for the National Assembly chair.

A Maoist Center leader told Himal Press that the party was making internal preparations to elevate Aryal to the post of Chairman. Aryal is lobbying in the party to become the next National Assembly chairperson. Likewise, Narayan Dahal, who is Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s brother, has also expressed his interest in the post. Dahal was nominated to the National Assembly after Ram Narayan Bidari completed his term.

Maoist Center Secretary Ganesh Sah said the party was holding internal discussions about making Aryal the next Chairman of the National Assembly. “Since we cannot take the posts of both chairperson and vice-chairperson, we will have to vacate the post of vice-chairperson if the chairperson’s post is handed to the party,” he added.

Maoist Center leaders say Aryal has been telling party leaders that she wants to work in the position with ‘executive rights’. Dahal is also

Dahal is also lobbying with party leaders to get the coveted post, an office-bearer of the Maoist Centre told Himal Press.

Although Nepali Congress and Maoist Center haven’t held discussions on who will be the next National Assembly chairperson, Maoist Center leaders say leaders of the ruling coalition reached an understanding to give the post to the Maoist Center while sharing the posts of President and Prime Minister. “There was an agreement to share the post of Prime Minister among three parties on a rotational basis, President to Nepali Congress and National Assembly chair to Maoist Center,” Maoist Center Secretary Devendra Poudel said.

However, Maoist Center General Secretary Dev Prasad Durung said he doesn’t have information about such an agreement. “There has been no agreement as such. But given the circumstances, we should get the post,” he added.

CPN (Unified Socialist) is also in the race for the post. Unified Socialist Spokesperson Jagannath Khatiwada said his party should get the post if consensus eludes the Nepali Congress and Maoist Center.

Maoist Center leaders are staking claim to the post citing two reasons: the betrayal of the ruling coalition in the National Assembly election in Koshi Province and its zero representation in the Constitutional Council.

The party knows it will have no representation in the important body once its Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal relinquishes the position of Prime Minister. That is why it is staking a claim for the post of National Assembly Chairperson.

Constitutional Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, has the Chief Justice, leader of the main opposition party, Speaker, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and National Assembly Chairperson as members.

Speaker Dev Raj Ghimire is from CPN-UML, while Deputy Speaker Indira Rana is from Rastriya Swatantra Party. The term of National Assembly Chairperson Ganesh Prasad Timilsina, who is from CPN-UML, is ending on March 4.

“NC has betrayed us time and again. Its president cannot always point fingers at the party’s anti-establishment faction,” Maoist Center’s leader in Koshi, Indra Angbo, said. “Either we will break the coalition or forge a new understanding.”

Angbo said the Maoist Center lost the posts of Chief Minister and Speaker in Koshi Province as well as one seat in the National Assembly due to the NC.

Maoist Center will become the largest party in the National Assembly after the newly-elected members are sworn in on March 4. The party will have 18 members. Nepali Congress will have 16, UML will have 10, and Unified Socialist will have eight.

NC leader Sitaula hasn’t publicly expressed his interest in becoming National Assembly chairperson. But NC leaders portrayed him as the future National Assembly chairperson during the National Assembly election. He was elected to the position with the support of both factions of NC.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *