The CPN-UML, Nepal’s second largest party in parliament, withdrew its support for PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s “Prachanda”-led government on Monday, citing a disagreement over backing the main opposition party’s presidential candidate, plunging the Himalayan nation into another period of political unrest.
According to Bishnu Rijal, deputy chief of the party’s central publicity committee, the decision was made at a high-level party meeting held on Monday under the leadership of party chief K P Sharma Oli.
Prachanda’s choice to support opposition party Nepali Congress candidate Ram Chandra Paudel for president is seen as the primary cause of the split. The presidential election in Nepal will take place on March 9. The departure of the CPN-UML may not have an immediate impact on the Prachanda government, which is supported by the NC, which has 89 lawmakers in the House.
Rijal claimed that Prime Minister Prachanda broke the December 25 agreement by forming a seven-party coalition government and betrayed the CPN-UML. The UML ministers have resigned, including deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bishnu Poudyal and Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Poudyal. The Prachanda-led government had eight UML ministers.
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swatantra Party, led by former TV journalist Ravi Lamichhane, has decided to continue its support for the government, according to RSP deputy parliamentary party leader Biraj Bhakta Shrestha.
In the 275-member House, the UML has 79 lawmakers, while the CPN (Maoist Center) has 32. The CPN (Unified Socialist) and Rashtriya Swatantra Party each have 10 and 20 members. The Janamat Party has six members in parliament, the Loktantrik Samajbadi Party four, and the Nagarik Unmukti Party three.
The government has the support of at least 141 lawmakers due to the three major parties, NC (89), CPN-Maoist Centre, and RSP (20). Prachanda only needs 138 votes in parliament to keep his job as Prime Minister. The prime minister must face a vote of confidence within 30 days, according to constitutional experts.
“The Prachanda-led government is required to seek a vote of confidence in parliament after the significant ruling alliance CPN-UML withdrew its support,” said senior Nepali Congress leader Prakash Man Singh. “However, with the support of the Nepali Congress and other political parties, the government led by Prachanda will easily survive the vote,” he added.
“Regardless of whether Prachanda will pursue the vote of confidence before the presidential election or after depends upon the PM and the eight-party alliance is working out a strategic plan on how to move forward in the new political scenario. Singh stated this.
According to Singh, the former deputy prime minister, the Nepali Congress will almost certainly join the coalition government because the old seven-party alliance has already torn up with the emergence of a new eight-party alliance. Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Centre, CPN-Unified Socialist, Nagarik Unmukti Party, Janamat Party, Janta Samajwadi Party, Lokatantrik Samajwadi Party, and Rashtriya Janamorcha are among the eight-party alliance.
Nepal has had 11 governments since its 239-year-old monarchy was abolished and it became a republic in 2008. On March 9, it will appoint its next president.