KATHMANDU, July 4: The government’s decision to prorogue the house session has sparked a fresh debate - whether Prime Minister KP Oli will split the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). There are also discussions at different platforms about what the political dispensation would be like if such a situation occurs.
A split in the NCP is not seen as an imminent possibility as the two factions within the ruling party are currently holding discussions to settle the intra-party differences. But if that happens, here is the numerical strength of each political party represented in the federal parliament and the possible scenario if parliament is not dissolved.
There are a total of 275 members in the House of Representatives (HoR). While the ruling NCP has a total of 174 seats, the main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC) has 63 seats. Likewise, the newly-formed Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) has a total of 34 members in HoR.
Similarly, there are a total of four independent candidates, namely Kamal Thapa (Rastriya Prajatantra Party), Prem Suwal (Nepal Workers and Peasants Party), Durga Paudel (People’s Front) and Chhakka Bahadur Lama (independent).
Four members of the HoR are currently under suspension. They include Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar and Mohammad Aftab Aalam of NC and Resham Chaudhary and Hari Narayan Chaudhary of Janata Samajbadi Party.
Since NC lawmaker Gyan Kumari Chhantyal passed away on Wednesday, the total number of the HoR lawmakers at the moment is 270. This means that a candidate who can secure the support of 136 members in the HoR, can form a majority government.
Let us look at the possibility of forming a new government should Prime Minister K P Oli decide to split the ruling NCP. Prime Minister Oli’s stay in power could fall in jeopardy if NCP leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Executive Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal can retain at least 42 of the party’s lawmakers to their side even if the independent lawmakers decide to support Oli.
It is not clear at the moment exactly how many lawmakers of the ruling NCP support PM Oli and the Dahal-Nepal alliance. But party insiders say Prime Minister Oli’s faction within the NCP commands the support of about 40 percent of the total NCP lawmakers. This means that the Dahal-Nepal alliance will be in a comfortable position to form a new government than Oli himself.
The party with Dahal-Nepal alliance could form the government with the support of NC alone or with the support of JSP that has 32 members (excluding two lawmakers under suspension) in parliament and the independent lawmakers.
Yet, the formation of a coalition government of the Oli-led party and the NC is still a possibility in view of their numerical strengths in parliament. This will largely depend on whether the NC would extend its support to Oli.
The likely coalition governments in case the NCP splits