Nepal Deputy PM Quits After Court Scraps Lawmaker Status
Nepal’s Supreme Court has scrapped Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Rabi Lamichhane’s status as a member of the House of Representatives, saying that he didn’t have a valid Nepali citizenship. The Constitution Bench said that his failure to re-acquire Nepali citizenship after renouncing his United States citizenship prevented him from becoming a national lawmaker. As he doesn’t have Nepali citizenship, he also cannot continue as minister or lead his party. One must be a Nepali citizen to form a party, contest elections and hold public positions. Hours after the Supreme Court verdict, Lamichhane tendered his resignation as a minister, which Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal approved. Not only did he lose the ministerial berth but also the presidency of his Rastriya Swatantra Party. Lamichhane had in February 1994 acquired citizenship by descent from the District Administration Office, Kathmandu. Twenty years later, in 2014, he got American citizenship. His Nepali citizenship was automatically scrapped the day he became an American citizen, as per Nepal’s Citizenship Act. The Act also makes it mandatory to apply for reclaiming the Nepali citizenship if one renounces his/her foreign citizenship. But Lamichhane didn’t do so. He contested the election of the House of Representatives producing the citizenship acquired in 1994, reports The Kathmandu Post.