The new Nepalese constitution: a personal dilemma for PM Koirala

Constitutional experts say, Koirala will automatically cease to be a Prime Minister on September 27 if there is no last minute rescheduling or postponement of the constitution’s promulgation scheduled for Sunday.

Written by Yubaraj Ghimire | Kathmandu | Updated: October 7, 2016 5:03 pm

 

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With the promulgation of a new constitution in Nepal around the corner, the one person who will be a loser in more ways than one, will be Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. Firstly, he will have to forego the Prime Minister’s post within a week of the statute being promulgated. Whether or not he will now be able to undergo medical treatment at the expense of the state in New York, which he was scheduled to visit to participate in the UN General Assembly is uncertain now.

The cabinet headed by Koirala had earlier sanctioned over Rs 20 million (nearly Rs 13 million INR) for the follow-up treatment of the cancer he suffers from in New York, and he was all set to go there for the twin public and personal purposes next week. However, the release of the new constitution on Sunday may sabotage his trip in the capacity of the Prime Minister along with the privileges and support associated with the post.

Article 292 (2) of the new constitution says, ‘The election of the Prime Minister shall take place within a week’ of the constitution being promulgated. Constitutional experts say, Koirala will automatically cease to be a Prime Minister on September 27 if there is no last minute rescheduling or postponement of the constitution’s promulgation scheduled for Sunday. Air-tickets and hotel bookings for Koirala and his entourage for the UNGA (Sept 25-27) and appointments with the doctors have already been made. According to the official sources, ‘the amount sanctioned for the treatment is in the process of being released.’

That he will have to quit the post of PM has not come all of a sudden. He has made a series of public announcements that he would quit the post the day after the promulgation of the new constitution. If he does as he says, he will be bowing out on Monday itself. If he waits for the constitutional provision to materialize, he will be in the post for six more days.

In both circumstances, he will forfeit the right to represent the government and the country at the UN General Assembly. As for the question of bearing the expenses of his medical treatment, that will depend on the laws, the precedents as well as the goodwill, or lack of it, demonstrated by the new government.

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