Opposition parties on Thursday submitted a memorandum to President Ram Baran Yadav requesting the head of the state to instruct the government to bring a full budget only through political consensus.
Top leaders of the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML along with 10 opposition parties that were represented in the dissolved Constituent Assembly went to Sheetal Niwas, seeking President’s intervention to urge the government for forging consensus. The initiative comes in light of the government’s preparation to bring a full-fledged budget to replace the current ‘advance budget,’ which expires in mid-November.
Hours after opposition parties met with the President, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai reached Sheetal Niwas and committed that his government would bring the full budget through political consensus. “The president expressed concern that the delay over budget could push the country into a difficult situation and hit foreign aid. He stressed on the need for an early consensus,” PM Bhattarai told reporters after his 50-minute talks with the President. The government would forge consensus on the budget within mid-November, PM said.
During the meeting, President Yadav voiced concern over recent allegations levelled against him by senior Maoist leaders, including Finance Minister Barshaman Pun, regarding preparations of a presidential takeover. PM Bhattarai, in response, said Pun’s statement was ‘not appropriate’ and committed to the President that he would ‘stop’ Cabinet members from making irresponsible statements against the head of the state. In their petition, the opposition parties have noted that the government has never been serious about forming a national unity government and conducting next elections in mid-April, as it wants other parties to believe. Instead, the caretaker government has been more concerned about extending its tenure in office and dragging the institution of presidency into controversy “demonstrating authoritarian tendencies and breaching consensus and constitution,” says the petition.
Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala said that the president had assured opposition leaders that he would not endorse the budget brought without political consensus. CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal said opposition parties were not against budget but would want to see political consensus before bringing it.
Upon receiving the memorandum, President Yadav urged opposition parties to engage with government to reach an agreement over budget. The president wished that the prime minister that his effort to strike consensus yield result soon.
“There is no constitutional basis to bring the budget without political consensus between parties,” President’s Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal quoted Yadav as telling both PM and opposition leaders.
Opposition parties have urged the president not to budge from his stance given that the ruling coalition try to intimidate and exert pressure on him to promulgate budget brought without larger consensus. UCPN (Maoist) Spokesperson Agni Sapkota voiced reservation over the petition saying that ‘politics over budget’ would do no good for the country.
“The president has no power to obstruct the government’s effort to bring budget. The constitution does not entrust him any power to reject the budget ordinance,” said the Maoist spokesman, adding that the president should endorse the budget and prevent the country from heading into fiscal crisis.
Earlier, 19 opposition parties held a meeting at NC central office Sanepa to formulate a strategy against government’s effort to bring budget. They demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to ease the process of consensus. “In the current complex situation, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai should demonstrate his responsibility towards the country and people by tendering his resignation,” states the resolution passed by the three and half hours discussion.
CPN-Maoist, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, CPN-ML, CPN (Samyukta), Rastirya Janamorcha, Rastriya Janashakti Party, Nepal Sadbhawana Pary (Anandidevi), CPN-ML (Samajabadi), CPN (Masal), Janamorcha Nepal among others attended the meeting organised by NC.
Posted on: 2012-11-09 08:46