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Article 158 overuse weakens democracy: President


President Ram Baran Yadav on Tuesday urged political party leaders to reach a package deal arguing that repeated use of Article 158 of the Interim Constitution to clear constitutional hurdles could weaken democracy.

During the talks with top leaders of the four major forces at Sheetal Niwas, the head of state urged leaders to bring a single proposal to address legal difficulties in conducting new Constituent Assembly elections and to fulfil vacant positions in the judiciary and constitutional bodies. The President had invited leaders of the UCPN (Maoist), the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha to express his concern over their failure to forge a new understanding for ending the impasse.

The discussion follows the urgency created by the retirement of temporary judges at the Supreme Court. New appointments to constitutional bodies and the apex court have stalled in the absence of parliamentary hearing ever since the CA’s dissolution in May.

The President’s concern comes at a time when the major parties are holding mulling over requesting the head of state to use his powers to remove the difficulties in appointing judges and fulfilling the constitutional body vacancies. The Article 158 of the Interim Constitution states that if any difficulty arises in connection with the implementation of the constitution, the President, on the recommendation of the Cabinet,

may issue orders to remove such difficulties and the parliament shall ratify such orders within a month.

In the two-hour talks with top leaders, President Yadav insisted that the repeated use of Article 158 would set a wrong precedent and weaken democracy. “The President asked the leaders to deal all the issues that attract Article 158 at a go. He warned that repeated use of the article to address constitutional difficulties would pose a threat to democracy,” said President’s Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal.

The President also expressed his displeasure over the parties’ failure to strike an accord saying that the political impasse was pushing the country towards a catastrophe. Dahal said the President was worried that no concrete efforts had been made so far to ensure that next CA elections would be conducted in April-May.

President Yadav also drew the attention of party leaders towards the extended deadline for picking a common prime ministerial candidate that expires on Thursday. Responding to the concerns, top leaders said they had expedited cross-party efforts and were optimistic of a deal in the near future.

Posted on: 2012-12-05 04:00