Election of new PM after budget: Maoist leaders

Published On: May 19, 2017 05:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Dahal likely to resign next week
KATHMANDU, May 19: With the successful conclusion of the first phase local polls, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been consulting leaders of his party on handing over  government leadership to  Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba immediately after presentation of the budget, said senior leaders of the CPN (Maoist Center). 

According to  the Maoist  leaders, Dahal is  planning to resign on Monday or Tuesday, paving the way for the election of a new government led by NC President Deuba. 

“The prime minister plans to resign  next week in line with the understanding with ruling coalition ally NC. Our party will honestly support NC President Deuba for new prime minister,” said Maoist Center leader Agni Sapkota.

The government has decided to commence the budget session of  parliament from Monday. According to Maoist Center leaders, Dahal  plans to address parliament  the same day and also announce his resignation. 

Minister for Law Ajay Shankar Nayak said Dahal's resignation is likely around Monday. “It could be on Monday or Tuesday, but he is certain to resign paving the way for the new government before the next phase of local polls,” said Nayak. 

Due to constitutional procedures, it is likely to take over a week to elect the new government  after Dahal's resignation. According to Article 298 of the new constitution, the president must allocate a week for the political parties to try to form a new government through all-party consensus. 

But a consensus government is  unlikely as the main opposition party leaders have said they will contest Deuba's candidacy. If the political parties  fail to agree on any single candidate, the new prime minister will be elected through a majority process. 

“It will take over a week to elect a new prime minister from  parliament. So the budget will be presented by Dahal's caretaker government,” said Maoist leader Sapkota. 

When the NC supported Maoist Chairman Dahal for prime minister in August last year, NC and Maoist Center had agreed on the subsequent handover of government leadership.

According to their political understanding, Deuba will lead the next government until January 2018, which is the constitutional deadline for holding parliamentary elections. 

Deuba, however,  is likely to struggle for a majority vote in  parliament to become prime minister if the government fails to pass the constitution amendment bill. The amendment is meant to address the demands of the agitating Madhes-based  parties. The agitating parties, which had voted for Dahal in August, have withdrawn support from the government since the last few months, out of disgruntlement at their grievances not being addressed. The government has been postponing  putting the amendment bill to a vote for lack of a two-thirds majority in its favor.

Longest House session prorogued after 381 days
The longest running  House session in Nepal's parliamentary history came to an end Thursday. The session  commenced on May 3, 2016 and ran for 381 days. 

In a House meeting on Thursday, Speaker Onsari Gharti read out a letter from the Office of the President.and  announced  prorogation of the ongoing session. According to constitutional provisions, the president can commence and prorogue parliamentary
sessions upon the recommendation of the government. The government is planning to commence the budget session from Monday, May 22,  said  Minister for Law and Justice Ajay Shankar Nayak.

Though there is a tradition of proroguing the budget session once the full budget for the fiscal year is endorsed, the ongoing session has continued even after endorsement of the budget for fiscal year 2016-17. 

The Oli government resigned after the then opposition parties registered a no-confidence motion in parliament. With the change of government, it took a few more months for the new government led by Pushpa Kamal Dahalto to get around to endorsing the full budget. 

Parliament endorsed the budget in September, but a move by ruling and opposition party lawmakers to register an impeachment motion against then chief  of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Lokman Singh Karki led to  prolongation of the House session. 

The previous longest House session  started in 2011.  Beginning from May 2, 2011, it ended on February 21, 2012, thus lasting for a total of 295 days. In 2006 also, a House session  continued for nearly 10 months . Starting on April 28  that year, it lasted till January 15, 2007. 

Parliament has also witnessed some very brief sessions. The shortest session ran only from January 13 to January 15 in 1999. Parliament was dissolved just two days after the commencement of the session.

Similarly, a special session summoned in May 2015 a few days after the massive earthquake ended within six days.

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