Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe has staked claim for the vacant post of speaker.
Talking with Setopati, Tumbahamphe, who is filling in as acting speaker since Krishna Bahadur Mahara resigned following rape allegation by a federal parliament secretariat staffer, has argued that she should be the natural successor.
There have been talks about the ruling CPN asking her to resign to make another party lawmaker speaker as the Constitution prohibits appointment of speaker and deputy speaker from the same party.
Mahara had won the federal parliamentary election on a CPN (Maoist Center) ticket and Tumbahamphe on CPN-UML's. But the parties have unified since and CPN will have to forfeit the post of speaker if she were to continue as deputy speaker.
She stressed that it would be injustice to ask her to resign to make way for another party lawmaker to become speaker. "I hope the work I have done will be evaluated. No law or the Constitution states that the deputy speaker should also be sacrificed for the speaker's mistake," she argued.
There were reports that Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli had offered her the post of minister during the last Cabinet reshuffle, and she said she would continue as acting speaker for now to prevent void at the helm of parliament and would become minister resigning from the current position whenever the election for speaker is held.
She stated that she firmly believes that there should not be void at the helm of parliament but claimed ignorance about the reported ministerial offer, and threw her hat in the ring for the post of speaker. She also pointed at the past precedent of Onsari Gharti Magar chairing the second Constituent Assembly (CA) after serving as deputy in the first CA.
"We have seen a deputy speaker later becoming the speaker in our own parliamentary exercise. I also believe that we can move forward by continuing that precedent," she stated.
She pointed at her political experience of over four decades and her tenure as deputy speaker and said she is competent to serve as speaker. "What is more important than me telling whether I am competent or not is what I have heard people say about me. I have not heard anyone say that the current deputy speaker is incompetent."
She hoped that the ruling party will call her for consultation before taking decision on speaker despite her no longer being a party member after being appointed as deputy speaker.