Prez puts the kibosh on election ordinances, Govt terms the decision ‘an attack on democratic norms’

KATHMANDU: What came as a big blow to the government, President Ram Baran Yadav today rejected two Cabinet-forwarded ordinances related to elections to the Constituent Assembly, saying they lacked relevance.A press statement issued by the Office of the President said the Head of the State took the decision to this effect referring to the announcement by the Election Commission on July 30 that the ordinances, even if they were approved, would not be enough to hold the elections on November 22. The statement reads: “This statement has been issued as the Honourable President saw no relevance of ordinances in the wake of the Election Commission’s announcement on July 30 that EC will not be able to hold elections on November 22.”

The Cabinet on July 27 had forwarded the two ordinances — Some Election Laws Amendment Ordinance, 2012 and Constituent Assembly Election Ordinance, 2012 — seeking to clear legal and constitutional hurdles to hold the polls.
Though Article 88 of the Interim Constitution states that ‘if the President is satisfied that it is necessary to take immediate action, the President may, on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, promulgate any ordinance as required without prejudice to the provisions of the constitution’, the Interim Constitution does not speak clearly whether the President can reject any ordinance or not.
A source at the Office of the President said today’s move has ended the government’s plan to rule unilaterally through ordinances. “The rejection shows more ordinances without consensus among parties will face the same fate,” he added.
Besides the two ordinances that were rejected today, the government was planning to issue more ordinances to appoint ambassadors and fill key posts at the apex court and constitutional bodies and form Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Inquiry of the Disappeared. There were other ordinances related to education, health and public service on cards.

“The President during his meeting with the prime minister on Thursday had informed the latter to this effect,” the source added. “The President had also urged the prime minister to take urgent and special steps to end the political impasse.”
But Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s political adviser Devendra Paudel blamed the President for encroaching upon the government jurisdiction and termed today’s decision ‘an attack on democratic norms’. “The President does not have the authority to reject the ordinances recommended by the government,” said Paudel. “The government will resend the ordinances to the President,” he added.
President Yadav’s press adviser Rajendra Dahal said, “The ordinances were totally irrelevant so the President rejected them.”
Acting Chief Election Commissioner Neelkantha Uprety said President’s denial to approve the ordinances has but reinforced EC’s announcement that elections were not possible on said date.ANANTA RAJ LUITEL,THT

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