KATHMANDU, Feb 15: With the Election Commission (EC) submitting the final results of the House of Representatives elections to the president late Wednesday evening, the way has been cleared for the formation of the new government within a few days.
The ground for government formation was laid two months back after the elections. However, the ruling Nepali Congress refused to hand over government leadership without the formation of the National Assembly. The CPN-UML, which emerged as thelargest party in the elections, claimed that there was no need to wait for the upper house as a leader commanding a majority in the lower house could be elected as head of the government.
The UML's claim couldn't prevail once the Election Commission weighed in. The EC took a stance of submitting to the president the lists of members elected from various political parties under the Proportional Representation (PR) category only after the election of the upper house.
The EC submitted both thefirst-past-the-post and PR poll results to the president on Wednesday. Earlier in the day the political parties submitted their final lists of lawmakers elected under PR .
According to officials at the president's office, President Bidya Bhandari has two options for initiating the formation of the new government in line with the fresh election mandate .
“The process of formating the new government will begin right after the EC submits the final election results to the president,” UML leader Surendra Pandey said. “The president will then have two options: either call for the formation of the government or let the political parties claim their majority.”
As none of the political parties has a clear majority in parliament, the government will be formed in line with Clause 2 of Article 76 of the Constitution. Clause 2 states that the president shall appoint as prime minister a member of the House of Representatives who can command a majority with the support of two or more parties represented in the house.
UML leaders have said that the new prime minister will be appointed by the president by Friday after the UML and Maoists submit the signatures of their supporters for UML Chairman K P Oli as the new prime minister. The two parties plan to submit the signatures on Thursday, according to party leaders.
Of the total 275 lower house members the support of at least 138 is needed for the appointment of the new prime minister. UML has 121 members in the House of Representatives and the Maoists 53, which is more than enough for a majority.