Kathmandu, Jul 15 (PTI) Nepal's new government on Thursday recommended President Bidya Devi Bhandari to summon the new session of the House of Representatives on July 18, according to a Cabinet minister.
A Cabinet meeting chaired by newly-appointed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba decided to summon the meeting of the reinstated House on July 18, Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand told reporters.
This would be the first meeting of the lower house of parliament after it was unconstitutionally dissolved by President Bhandari for the second time in five months on May 22 at the recommendation of then Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.
A five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on Monday reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives for a second time in five months.
The bench issued a mandamus to appoint then 75-year-old Opposition Leader and Nepali Congress chief Deuba as the Prime Minister and also ordered a new session of the House of Representatives on July 18.
Deuba took the oath of office and secrecy on July 13 along with four new ministers - two each from Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre.
He has replaced 69-year-old Oli, who has accused the apex court of 'deliberately' passing the verdict in favour of the Opposition parties.
Deuba is required to seek a vote of confidence from the House of Representatives within 30 days of his appointment as the Prime Minister, as per the constitutional provisions.
He needs 136 votes in the 275-member lower house as there are only 271 members presently. His party has only 61 seats in the House.
Deuba has intensified talks with leaders of various political parties to secure his position when he seeks a vote of confidence in the Parliament.
On Wednesday, Deuba went to the residence of dissident leader of CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal at Koteshwor on the outskirts of Kathmandu to seek his support.
A total of 26 lawmakers belonging to UML, who are close to Madhav Nepal, had backed Deuba when he staked claim for Premiership under Article 76(5) of the Constitution. The UML is yet to take a decision on whether to support the Deuba government or not.
The party is scheduled to hold its Parliamentary Party meeting on Friday to discuss the House of Representatives’ meeting scheduled for July 18.
The Upendra Yadav led faction of Janata Samajwadi Party, which has in total 32 lawmakers, is likely to support Deuba during the vote of confidence. However, the party, divided between Yadav and Mahanta Thakur factions, is yet to announce its decision in the matter officially.
Of the 32 lawmakers, the Thakur-Mahato faction had 20 lawmakers while Yadav-Bhattarai had 12 lawmakers.
'Prime Minister Deuba is making preparations to take the vote of confidence within a few days after the start of the House meeting,” said a leader close to Deuba.
Leaders of the ruling NC have claimed that Deuba will get a vote of confidence.
'We want to ensure an atmosphere conducive to a vote of confidence,” said NC lawmaker Min Bahadur Bishwakarma. 'We are assured of getting support.' Altogether, 149 members of the House of Representatives supported Deuba during his claim to form a government.
With the Nepal faction of the CPN-UML deciding to sever ties with the Opposition alliance, Deuba may face a tough time winning the vote of confidence.
UML lawmakers, who had been signatories in the writ petition demanding that Deuba should be made the Prime Minister, assured that their faction would do everything required to ensure the parliament works for its full term.
'We fielded the writ petition saying the parliament should function its full term; hence we’ll do everything possible to make the parliament work till the end,” said Birodh Khatiwada, a lawmaker close to Khanal-Nepal faction of UML, was quoted as saying by Khabar Hub, one of the country's digital media platforms.
If the 26 UML dissidents continue to support him, Deuba’s tenure will last for one-and-a-half years when general elections are to be held. If not, fresh elections have to be called within six months. PTI SBP/NSA ZH AKJ ZH ZH