A coalition of six parties has decided to back Nepal’s Maoist Center, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to form the next government and become the country’s prime minister.
Nepal’s Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ (Photo: Twitter |@cmprachanda)
By Press Trust of India: In a dramatic turn of events on Sunday, opposition CPN-UML and other smaller parties extended their support to CPN-Maoist Centre chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, who is now set to become the next Prime Minister of Nepal.
A crucial meeting of former prime minister KP Sharma Oli-led opposition CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Centre, Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) and other smaller parties agreed to form a government under the leadership of ‘Prachanda’.
The CPN-UML, CPN-MC and other parties are set to stake a claim for Prachanda’s premiership at the President’s Office ‘Sheetalniwas’ with the signature of 165 lawmakers under Article 76 (2) of the Constitution, General Secretary of CPN-MC Deb Gurung said.
Gurung said that an agreement letter is being prepared to submit to the president.
The meeting was attended by Oli, Prachanda, RSP president Ravi Lamichhane, Rastriya Prajatantra Party chief Rajendra Lingden, Janata Samanwadi Party president Ashok Rai among others at Oli’s residence, Balkot.
There has been an understanding between Prachanda and Oli to lead the government on a rotation basis and Oli agreed to make Prachanda Prime Minister at the first chance, as per his demand.
The new alliance has support of 165 lawmakers in the 275-member House of Representatives, which includes CPN-UML with 78, CPN-MC with 32, RSP with 20, RPP with 14, JSP with 12, Janamat with 6 and Nagarik Unmukti Party with 3.
“As the largest party, the Nepali Congress failed to form a government under its leadership as per Article 76(2) of the Constitution within the president’s deadline. Now, the CPN-UML has taken the initiative to form the new government under the leadership of Prachanda with the support of 165 lawmakers,” Shankar Pokharel, CPN-UML general secretary, told reporters after the meeting.
Earlier in the day, Prachanda walked out of the Nepali Congress-led five-party alliance after Prime Minister and Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba rejected his bid to become the Prime Minister in the first round.
Deuba and Prachanda had earlier reached a tacit understanding to lead the new government on a rotational basis.
During talks with Prachanda on Sunday morning at the PM House, Nepali Congress had staked claim for both the key posts of President and Prime Minister, which Prachanda had rejected, resulting in the failure of the talks, Maoist sources said.
The NC offered the post of Speaker to the Maoist Party, which was rejected by Prachanda.
“The alliance has broken as the last-minute talks between Deuba and Prachanda failed to strike a deal,” Shah told PTI earlier in the day.
After talks with Prime Minister Deuba failed, Prachanda reached the private residence of CPN-UML chairman Oli to seek his support to become the Prime Minister. He was joined by leaders of other smaller parties.
Nepali Congress is the largest party with 89 seats in the House of Representatives, while CPN-UML and CPN-MC have 78 and 32 seats, respectively.
No party in the 275-member House of Representatives has 138 seats required to form a government.
The deadline given by President Bidya Bhandari to political parties to form a coalition government under Article 76(2) of the constitution, is expiring on Sunday evening.
If the parties fail to meet the deadline, the President will either extend the deadline if political parties make a request or she will call for the largest party to form a government under Article 76 (3) of the constitution.
In such a situation, the Prime Minister should prove majority in the HoR within 30 days.
CPN (Unified Socialist) has 10 seats, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP) has four, and Nagarik Unmukti Party has three seats. Rastriya Janamorcha and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party have one seat each.
There are five independent members in the Lower House.