Interim Constitution 2007 allowed naturalized citizen to become president, prime minister
Sujit Mainali / November 18, 2016
A debate is ongoing in Nepal about whether the constitutional provision that bars naturalized citizens from holding country’s top positions such as president, prime minister, chief justice, head of security bodies, etc. should be amended or not.
Leaders and cadres of several Madhesi parties that are demanding amendment to the constitution are repeating the following kind of statements in their interviews, speeches and posts on the social media:
We are not demanding that naturalized citizens should be allowed to become president and prime minister. Our demand is that the interim constitution’s related provisions should be continued in the current constitution also.
South Asia Check has examined this frequently repeated statement.
Article 289 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal-2015 has stated that “in order for a person to be elected, nominated or appointed as president, vice-president, prime minister, chief justice, speaker of parliament, chairperson of the national assembly, head of province, chief minister, speaker of provincial assembly and chief of security bodies, the person must have obtained Nepali citizenship by descent.”
Article 155 (2) of the Interim Constitution-2007 mentioned that “only those persons who are citizens of Nepal by descent or birth or who, having acquired naturalized citizenship, have resided in Nepal for at least ten years shall be eligible to be appointed to constitutional positions in accordance with this Constitution.”
This condition applied only to the naturalized citizens to be appointed to the constitutional bodies. The Interim Constitution nowhere mentioned that naturalized citizens would be ineligible for holding top posts including that of president and prime minister.
If this provision of the Interim Constitution 2007 is incorporated in the Constitution of Nepal-2015, even the people with naturalized citizenship will be eligible for president, prime minister, chief-justice, etc.
Therefore, a statement like “We are not demanding that naturalized citizens should be allowed to become president and prime minister. Our demand is that the interim constitution’s related provisions should be continued in the current constitution also” is self-contradicting.
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