July 23, 2016 07:50 AM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
KATHMANDU, July 22: Parliament on Friday commenced proceedings on the no-confidence motion registered against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, paving the way for the formation of a new government within a few days.
The House began the proceedings after major political parties agreed on the order of parliamentary business, something they had been disputing over for the last one week.
Parliament in its first item of business saw the tabling of the three remaining budget bills for approval. These were rejected as the CPN (Maoist Center), which pulled out of the coalition government last week, voted against them.
The House then began deliberations over the no-confidence motion registered by Nepali Congress and the Maoist Center on July 13.
Officials at the parliament secretariat said that discussions on the motion will continue until Sunday, as per the understanding reached among the political parties.
After listening to lawmakers’ opinions for three days, the prime minister will address the House on Sunday before the motion is put to a vote. If a majority in the 601-seat Parliament votes in favor of the motion, the government will be reduced to a minority.
Vote on motion on Sunday
Withdrew support as Oli stood against consensus: Dahal
As the largest party NC and the third largest Maoist Center are backed by several small political parties, the prime minister is most likely to lose a majority in the House unless there is some dramatic change in the existing political scenario.
Once the prime minister is reduced to a minority, Parliament will first initiate the process of forming a new government based on political understanding. If the parties fail to forge a consensus, Parliament will then begin proceedings to elect a new head of government through majority vote.
Lawmakers from the ruling UML indicated that the prime minister is unlikely to tender his resignation before Parliament conducts the vote on the no-trust motion.
“Since deliberations over the motion have already commenced, the prime minister needs to wait until the last speaker to answer the issues raised during the discussions,” UML lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai told Republica. “So, I think this process that has already begun in the House will be taken to a conclusion.”
Tabling the motion for discussion, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of CPN (Maoist Center), argued that he had to withdraw his party’s support and propose a vote of no-confidence against Oli as, according to him, the prime minister, far from bringing the dissident political parties on board for implementing the new constitution, had distanced himself from them.
“Nine months ago, we had supported KP Sharma Oli as the new prime minister on the major condition of forging national unity and consensus, but this was later ignored,” Dahal said in his hour-long speech in the House. “We found Oli’s working style ego-centric and self-centric.”
Dahal, who is likely to replace Oli as prime minister, also accused the UML chairman of showing reluctance to adopt federalism wholeheartedly while hobnobbing with anti-federalists and anti-republicans.
He rejected arguments that there are complications in forming the new government due to ambiguities in the relevent constitutional provisions.
Bimalendra Nidhi of NC, which has already announced its support for Dahal as the new prime minister, said that his party joined hands with the Maoists “as Prime Minister Oli didn’t take any initiatives to address the concerns of the agitating Madhes-based parties although our party tried its best to cooperate with the government in resolving these issues.”
Subas Nembang of UML argued that there were constitutional complications in forming the new government and that the prime minister was for stepping down only after making these issues clear.
“Such provisions on the transitional period, although these have now turned out to be confusing, were deliberately included in the new constitution because at the time the parties had an understanding that they would concentrate their focus on implementing the new constitution and not in frequently changing the government,” said former Constituent Assembly chairman Nembang.