Koirala: The first President of Nepal

Posted by: Indra Dhoj Kshetri

gp.jpgThe interim Constitution has established Prime Minister as a powerful president; not in words but in action.

After Girija Prasad Koirala was appointed Prime Minister in April last year, many people raised doubts that he had some give and take with the Palace. His post movement activities and speeches supported this doubt that he was willing to uphold the …

Monarchy, be it in ceremonial form. Meanwhile, he played a crucial role on bringing the Maoists into the mainstream and upholding the seven party unity. In those nine months eight parties (including Maoists, as they have given up arms and participated in the interim legislature) have come a long way. The state and the Maoists have formally ended war and the eight parties have promulgated interim constitution. In contrary to the above mentioned doubts regarding Koirala’s instance on Monarchy, the situation has dramatically changed and established Koirala as a President, not in words but in action.

The interim Constitution is dumb regarding Head of State. However, it has given all traditional rights and privileges of the Monarch in the country to the Prime Minister. For example, the Prime Minister administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Justice at the Supreme Court. Prime Minister shall have the right to appoint and certify the Nepalese ambassadors in foreign countries and receive the certificates of the Ambassadors at the foreign diplomatic missions in Nepal. Hence, Nepal’s condition now is that as Koirala is an ordinary citizen Nepal, has presidential system but still the King exists. The interim constitution has not given any rights and privileges to the King. More importantly it has outright denied the role of the King.

Oath.jpg
Prime Minister administers the oath of Office and Secrecy to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
It’s appropriate here to analyze some constitutional provisions that support his role as a president of the country.

Article 37 (1) of the interim constitution provides that the Executive Right of the state of Nepal shall rest on the Council of Ministers. And as the head of the Council, the Prime Minister shall exercise those rights. More importantly, unlike in previous constitution that the Prime Minister could be removed simply by the ordinary majority of the parliament, the interim constitution doesn’t have any provisions to remove the Prime Minister from his post. Hence, the constitution has established the Prime Minister as powerful chief executive. He is even more powerful than the US president. The US president can be impeached by the Congress.

Other privilege that the Head of the state exercised is summoning and prorogation of the session of the Legislature. According to the interim Constitution, the Prime Minister shall exercise this right as well. The Prime Minister himself shall address the first meeting of the session and present the government programs before the House. This privilege was given to the King in previous constitution. The King used to address the first session and present the policies and programs of the government before the House. In return, the House had to pass a vote thanks to the King. It is reasonable to note here that, failing to pass the vote of thanks motion, Koirala himself had to resign and declare the midterm polls in 1994.

The right of Pardons is the other privilege that the head of the states exercised. This privilege shall also be exercised by the Council of Ministers as per the interim constitution. Unlike in the past, the titles, honors or decorations are also to be conferred by the Prime Minister. The title of ceremonial chief of the National army has also been drawn from the King and given to none. However, as the King will not be present on either occasion, the Prime Minister will observe the salutes as the Head of the State.
Let’s observe what the Constitution mentions about the King. Article mentions that none the state rights shall rest upon King. Immediately, 149 (2) mentions that the Prime Minister will do all the state functions. And Sub article (3) mentions that the future of the Monarchy will be determined by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

Thus this constitution adopts such political system where, despite the existence of King (not Monarchy), the Prime Minister is the head of the state. Doubtless to say, an ordinary citizen as the head of the state can be no other than a president. The time will show whether Koirala really wants to oust the Monarchy from the nation. However, he has been exercising the privileges of the Head of state as in Presidential system.

Click here to read the Full Text of the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2063

Koirala: The first President of Nepal was last modified: August 27th, 2007 by Indra Dhoj Kshetri
 

Blog Comments

  1. lpk

    Anyway, he has opened a way for us to become president of Nepal in future,as long as they are able to throw monarchy from root before royals damage our country.

  2. pawan

    yeah, he is most powerful president on Earth, more powerful than president of United States. Parliament can not impeach nor they can call session. With such flawed interim constitution, what one can expect?

  3. mabi

    From kantipuronline.com

    बलराम बानिया“

    स्थान ः प्रधानमन्त्री निवास बालुवाटारको पण्डाल ।
    समय ः मंगलबार अपराह्न । पण्डालमा प्रतीक्षारत छन् कांग्रेसका नया“ र पुराना सांसद । भित्रबाट सभापति, उपसभापति र महामन्त्री निस्केर पण्डालको अग्रस्थानमा बसे । पार्ट कामु मुख्यसचिव शोभाकर पराजुलीले एकाएक संसदीय दलको बैठकले गिरिजाप्रसादलाई दलको नेतामा र्सवसम्मतिले निर्वाचित गरेको व्यहोरा पढेर सुनाए । पुराना सांसदले र्समर्थनमा ताली बजाए, दलको नेता चुन्न आफ्नो कस्तो भूमिका होला भनेर कौतुहलतासाथ बसेका नया“ सांसद अलमलमा परे । दलका सदस्यहरूलाई नै थाहा भएन, आफूले विधानतः चुन्नुपर्ने नेता कसले चुनेको हो – धन्न पराजुलीको मुखारबिन्दबाट यतिमात्र थाहा भयो- कोठामा ५/६ जना

    बसेर कोइरालालाई नेता चुन्दा सुशील कोइराला र रामचन्द्र पौडेल प्रस्तावक र र्समर्थक बसेका रहेछन् ।

    कांग्रेसमा आन्तरिक लोकतन्त्रको स्थिति कति नाजुक छ, यो बैठक नै काफी हुन्छ । कांग्रेसमा यस्तो हुनु कुनै नौलो घटना थिएन र त विधान, विधि र संसदीय परम्पराको यतिविधि खिल्ली उड्दा पनि कुनै पनि सदस्यको मुन कु“डिएन । कोठे बैठकबाट ८५ जनाको अधिकार अपहरण हु“दा पनि कसैले प्रश्न उठाएन । कांग्रेसमा कोइरालालाई चुनौती दिन सक्ने कुनै नेता छैनन् । शान्ति वार्तालाई तार्किक निष्कर्षा पुर्‍याएर संविधानसभा सफल पार्न उनको विकल्प देखिएको

    छैन । मुलुकले विकल्प नदेखेको नेताको कांग्रेसले विकल्प देख्ने कुरै थिएन । लोकतान्त्रिक विधिको पालना गरेको भए पनि उनी नै नेता हुने थिए ।

    कांग्रेसमा लोकतन्त्रको उपहास भएको यो पहिलो घटना होइन । केही दिनअघि उपसभापतिलगायतका पदाधिकारीले समेत पार्टि १० सांसद चयन भएको निर्णय सञ्चारमाध्यमबाट थाहा पाए । केन्द्रीय र संसदीय समितिका सदस्यहरू आफूहरूले विधिवत् बैठक बसेर चयन गर्नुपर्ने १० सदस्य सभापतिको एकल निर्णय बाट अकस्मात घोषणा भएको सुन्दा अवाकमात्र भएनन्, स्तब्धसमेत भए तर र्सार्वजनिकरूपमा कोही पनि विरोधमा उभिएनन् । जबकि विधानमा पार्टि उम्मेदवार तय गर्न संसदीय समितिले सिफारिस गर्ने र त्यसलाई केन्द्रीय समितिले अनुमोदन गर्ने व्यवस्था छ । सभापतिले विधान लत्याउ“दा पनि पार्टर्ीी कुनै तरंग पैदा भएन । ६० वर्षेखि निरन्तर लोकतन्त्रका लागि लडेका कोइरालामा प्रजातान्त्रिक संस्कार र आचरण छैन, जुन कुरा उनका व्यवहारबाट पटकपटक देखिइसकेको छ । नरहरि आचार्य र अर्जुननरसिंह केसीले मात्र झिनो स्वरमा विरोध गर्ने साहस गरे, तर त्यो कोइराला र अरू नेताको कानसम्म नपुगेकैले होला दलको नेता चयन गर्दा पनि विधिको त्यसरी नै खिल्ली उडाइयो । तानाशाहले पनि विधि पुर्‍याएको नाटक गर्छन् तर कांग्रेसमा त्यस्तो नाटक मञ्चन गर्ने आवश्यकतासमेत ठानिएन । को-को सांसद छानिए, त्यो महत्त्वपुर्ण होइन, छनोटमा न्यूनतम लोकतान्त्रिक पद्धति अपनाइयो कि अपनाइएन, त्यो महत्त्वपुर्ण सवाल हो ।

    कांग्रेसमा कार्यसमितिको औपचारिक बैठक नबसेको पनि सात महिना भइसकेको छ, जबकि विधानतः महिनाको एकपटक अनिवार्यरूपमा बैठक बस्नर्ुपर्छ । सभापतिले बेला-बेलामा बोलाउने अनौपचारिक बैठकमा पनि ६/७ जनालाई मात्र बोलाउने गरिएकाले बा“की सदस्य मन कुडाएर बसिरहेका छन्, कसैले मुख फोर्न सकेको छैन । महाधिवेशन भएको डेढ वर्षभइसक्ता पनि न त महासमिति बैठक बोलाइएको छ, न केन्द्रीय विभागहरूलाई पर्ूण्ाता दिइएको छ । पार्टर्ीी्रवक्ता पद महिनौंदेखि रिक्त छ । राजतन्त्रबारेमा नीतिगत निर्ण्र्ाागर्न महासमिति या विशेष महाधिवेशन बोलाउन जिल्ला सभापतिहरूले दबाब दिएको पनि लामो समय भइसकेको छ ।

    संविधानसभा चुनावको प्रचार सुरु हुने बेला भइसक्तासमेत कांग्रेस राजतन्त्रको सवालमा अनिर्ण्र्ााो बन्दी छ । महाधिवेशनले पार्टर्ीीाजतन्त्र निरपेक्ष हुने निर्ण्र्ाागरे पनि गणतन्त्रमा जाने या नजाने भन्ने सवालमा कुनै निर्ण्र्ाानगरेकाले नेता तथा कार्यकर्ता जनतामा के नीति लिएर जाने भन्ने अन्योलमा छन् । कोइरालाले कहिल्यै विधिको सम्मान गरेनन् । अब ८४ वर्षो उमेरमा उनले सम्मान गर्लान् भनेर कल्पना गर्नु पनि मर्ूखता हुन्छ, तर उनको विरासत थाम्ने सपना सा“चिरहेका सुशील, सुजाता हुन् या रामचन्द्र, उनीहरूलाई त विधि र पद्धतिको चिन्ता हुनुपर्ने हो, त्यो पनि देखिएन । लोकतान्त्रिक आन्दोलनको सबभन्दा लामो समय नेतृत्व गरेको पार्टर्ीी आन्तरिक प्रजातन्त्रको अभ्यासलाई चुस्त बनाएर अरूलाई समेत प्रेरित गर्नुपर्ने हो । तर उसकै उल्टो व्यवहार हु“दा प्रतिगामीमात्र भित्रभित्र दंग परेका होलान् ।

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