President Ram Baran Yadav on Sunday expressed dissatisfaction over the government, saying that the Cabinet does not have the authority to comment on the constitutionality of his call for formation of a national unity government.
The comment followed a Cabinet meeting in the afternoon that concluded that the President’s call was ‘unconstitutional.’
President Yadav voiced his dissent with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai who had visited Sheetal Niwas on Sunday evening to brief the head of state on the Cabinet’s decision. “The constitution has specified the responsibilities of the President and the council of ministries, honoured institutions of the nation. There is no point getting involved in a dispute over their jurisdiction,” President Yadav was quoted by his Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal as telling the PM.
“I have called for consensus within the constitutional limits. It would have been better had the government not reached such a conclusion.”
President Yadav on Friday appealed to the parties to pick a common prime ministerial candidate as per Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution by Thursday afternoon. Sheetal Niwas said its efforts to press the parties to strike consensus within the deadline will continue.
The President’s Legal Advisor, Surya Dhungel, said the Cabinet crossed its jurisdiction while commenting on the President’s move. “The President is well aware of his constitutional boundaries. The Cabinet is not the authority to decide on the powers vested on the head of state. That can only be done by the Supreme Court—the final interpreter of the constitution,” he said.
During hour-long discussions, the President said PM Bhattarai and the government should contribute to build consensus at the earliest. Bhattarai said the offices of the President and the Prime Minister must work together to safeguard the republic and hold elections.
Bhattarai described the two institutions as “pillars of democracy,” and argued that a discord between them could jeopardise the republic and other political achievements.
“The President has assured that he will not cross his constitutional boundaries,” Bhattarai said, adding that his moves will be “closely followed.”
An aide to the President dismissed speculations of a possible confrontation between the government and the President. The aide was optimistic that Bhattarai and his UCPN (Maoist) party will later blame the Madhesi Morcha for the reservations against the President’s consensus call and finally come to a compromise.
The President’s office expressed concern and said that the government misinterpreted the procedure of calling for the formation of a national unity government.
Dhungel said the head of state had maintained the tradition of corresponding with the government through the chief secretary in all the five appeals that were issued for the formation of a national unity government after 2008. A public statement issued to the parties for forming the government was also sent to the Parliament Secretariat, along with the chief secretary, on Friday.
Posted on: 2012-11-26 08:48