Nepal’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ would seek a vote of confidence in the parliament on January 10, amid uncertainty over the support from his allies.
The 68-year-old CPN-Maoist Centre leader was sworn in as the Prime Minister for the third time on December 26 after he dramatically walked out of the pre-poll alliance led by the Nepali Congress and joined hands with opposition leader K.P. Sharma Oli.
Nepal’s first Parliament session after the appointment of Prime Minister Mr. Prachanda began in Kathmandu on Monday.
The Nepali Congress — the largest political party in parliament — is likely to vote in support of Mr.Prachanda while staying on the opposition bench, My Republica newspaper reported.
Prime Minister Mr. Prachanda on Monday met Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba and sought his support in parliament, the paper said.
“Mr. Deuba has said that our party will take a decision whether to support the new government after the parliamentary party meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning,” a leader close to Mr. Deuba was quoted as saying by the paper.
NC Vice President Purna Bahadur Khadka and Krishna Prasad Situala were present when Mr. Prachanda held a meeting with Mr. Deuba.
Party insiders said although a formal decision to this effect will be made through the NC’s Parliamentary Party meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the party is likely to support Mr. Prachanda and stay on the opposition bench.
The NC and CPN (Maoist Center) had forged an electoral alliance for the parliamentary election held on November 20.
But after the NC reportedly declined the post of the prime minister to Mr. Prachanda as agreed before, the Maoist Center in a rather surprising move forged an alliance with the CPN-UML to form a new government.
In the 275-member House of Representatives, the NC has 89 lawmakers, while the UML has 79 lawmakers. Similarly, CPN (Maoist Center), CPN (Unified Socialist) and Rashtriya Swatantra Party have 32, 10 and 20 members, respectively. Janamat Party has 6 members, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party 4 and Nagarik Unmukti Party 3 members in the parliament.
Mr. Prachanda was appointed as prime minister with the support of 169 parliamentarians including UML, Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Janta Samajwadi Party (JSP), Janamat Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party and three independent lawmakers, as per Article 76(2) of the Constitution of Nepal.
Mr. Prachanda needs 138 votes in the 275-member parliament to continue his term as the prime minister.
Talking to reporters on Monday, Mr. Prachanda had said that he is confident of getting a vote of confidence. “Not only am I confident of getting a vote of confidence, I believe that the entire House will stand united on the vote of confidence.”
As per the power-sharing deal reached between the UML and the Maoist Center before Mr. Prachanda’s appointment as the new prime minister, UML will have its candidates elected as the president and speaker of the House of Representatives.
Citing sources, the paper said that there has been an agreement to hold the post of speaker for the first two and half years by the UML and the remaining term by the Maoist Center candidate.
After the vote of confidence, the process of electing the Speaker and Deputy Speaker will get underway.
According to constitutional provisions, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker should be elected within 15 days of the first parliamentary meeting.