Nepal President Bhandari calls political parties to stake claim to form new government

·3-min read

Kathmandu, May 20 (PTI) Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Thursday urged the political parties in the country to stake claim to form a new government after embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli reportedly expressed unwillingness to undergo another floor test to prove his government's majority in the House of Representatives.

Oli, who is the Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist–Leninist (CPN-UML), was sworn in as Nepal's Prime Minister as per Article 76 (3) of the Constitution on May 14, four days after he lost a crucial vote of confidence in Parliament.

The CPN-UML is the largest party with 121 seats in the 275-member House of Representatives. At present 136 votes are needed to form a majority government. He was required to seek a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives within 30 days of his appointment to the post.

The President has given parties a deadline until 5:00 pm on Friday to form a new government, at the recommendation of the Prime Minister Oli.

Earlier on Thursday, a meeting of the Council of Ministers had forwarded the recommendation to the Office of the President to this effect.

The president's office stated that the government had forwarded a request to invoke Article 76 (5) as Prime Minister Oli, it has been learnt, is in no mood to undergo another parliamentary floor test as there is no prospect of an otherwise result given the complex internal dynamics within parties represented in the federal parliament.

There have been differences between Oli and senior leader of the rival faction of the party Madhav Kumar Nepal since the vote.

Prior to this, Articles 76 (2) and 76 (3) of the Constitution have already been tested.

The president's call comes after the ruling party's candidate for Upper House in Bagmati Pradesh lost the election clearly indicating that Oli, 69, doesn't possess majority support in Parliament.

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa lost the election to rival candidate of the ruling party Khim Lal Devkuta during Thursday's voting.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

Oli's move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'.

In February, the apex court reinstated the dissolved House, in a setback to Oli who was preparing for snap polls.

As parliamentary politics is rife with number games, Nepal grapples with shortages of medical supplies, mismanagement of the situation by the state, spiking infections and fatalities amid the raging second wave of the pandemic.

Nepal reported 246 new COVID-19 fatalities on Wednesday, pushing the death toll to 5,657.

The total coronavirus tally stands at 480,418 with 8,064 new cases. PTI SBP RS AKJ RS

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting