Fruitful Longest Session
The second session of the Legislature-Parliament that lasted for about 13 months was prorogued the other midnight. President Bidya Devi Bhandari prorogued the budget session by sending a letter to Speaker Onsari Gharti. The budget session that commenced on May 3, 2016 was the longest session in the parliamentary history of Nepal. It lasted for 381 days with 135 meetings in 114 days. In total, the parliament functioned for 295 hours and 20 minutes. Although many important bills, including the constitution amendment ones, are still pending, the session had to be prorogued in order to introduce the budget in the new session. The next budget session of the parliament is likely to begin next week as a constitutional provision makes it mandatory for the government to table the budget for the next fiscal year by May 29.
The second session of the transitional parliament happened to be the longest as it kept itself busy in drafting and endorsing several bills required for implementing the new constitution promulgated in September 2015. During the session, the Legislature-Parliament itself tested some of the important constitutional provisions. A no-confidence motion was registered against former prime minister K. P. Oli while two impeachment motions—one against the then chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Lokman Singh Karki and another against Chief Justice Sushila Karki were registered during the longest session. However, the session did not conclude both of the impeachment motions.
Before proroguing the session, Speaker Gharti remarked that the session proved important in terms of implementing the constitution. During the 13 months, 46 bills were registered, and 17 of them were endorsed, while other laws relating to constitution implementation were also endorsed. All the bills relating to the election were endorsed in the session. Indeed, the session that witnessed the drafting, tabulation and endorsement of the bill relating to the local level election continued business until the conclusion of the first phase of the local election. The session happened to be eventful throughout the year. It elected Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda as the new prime minister of Nepal three months after the commencement of the session. The number and boundaries of the new local units were finalised, paving the way for the local polls. But the session also saw disruption, especially after the registration of the constitution amendment bill. The disruption by the CPN-UML to protest the bill’s registration lasted for days while the lawmakers from the Madhes-based parties walked out of the meeting, demanding amendment of the constitution. Yet the session remained fruitful in formulating and endorsing important laws required for the effective implementation of the constitution and resolving major differences that surfaced among the political parties.
The successful holding of the first phase of the local poll, which all the lawmakers hailed while speaking in the last meeting of the session, was possible due to the relentless efforts made in the longest parliament session. It is hoped the parliament, whose term will expire in the next eight months, will succeed in drafting and endorsing all essential laws needed to implement the constitution in its next budget session.