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Nepal opposition urges president not to sanction poll budget
Publication Date : 12-07-2012
The major opposition parties of Nepal have urged President Ram Baran Yadav not to extend support to the government for allocating budget for the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections slated for November 22.
Senior Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) leaders met President Yadav and requested him not to sanction the government move to earmark budget for elections. The opposition parties upped the ante against the government in the wake of the Election Commission's demand for 7 billion rupees (US$78.9 million) to conduct CA elections.
"As the CA election is still uncertain, there is no relevance for allocating budget for the same," CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said.
"If the parties reach consensus over CA elections, funds can be managed later on too."
Khanal said the government was trying to create controversy by breaching the Interim Constitution.
"There has been much maneuvering regarding the full budget. The country should not be deadlocked on this issue," he said, adding that the president should thwart any unconstitutional move.
The conflict comes despite an agreement that the government will not bring full budget for the new fiscal year that starts next week. Opposition parties have said they will not participate in the November 22 election, dubbing it unconstitutional.
The government plans to allocate budget for CA elections through an ordinance as per Article 88 of the Interim Constitution. Article 88 stipulates that the President, on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, can promulgate an ordinance when the legislature is not in session.
Opposition parties however insist that the incumbent caretaker government can only introduce fiscal estimates without exceeding one third of the current year's budget under Article 96 (1).
"We have given our consent to the government to bring one third budget as per Article 96 (1). But the government is trying to use the clause regarding removal of the deadlock and trying to move ahead without consensus," said Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat.
"We will not support any such initiative."
Leaders from Rastriya Janashakti Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party were also present during the meeting with the President.
According to the President's Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal, the opposition parties said they were only in favour of one third budget and the president expects consensus among parties.