Oli bows out, way open for Dahal government

Published On: July 25, 2016 05:56 AM NPT By: Nabin Khatiwada

KATHMANDU, July 25: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli Sunday resigned his post paving the way for the formation of a new government.

Prime Minister Oli announced his resignation while answering the questions raised during the deliberations on the no-confidence motion agianst him registered in parliament. Oli had submitted his resignation to President Bidya Devi Bhandari before addressing the parliament.

The president on Sunday evening approved the prime minister’s resignation and asked the present government to continue in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed.

On Sunday, the parliament was scheduled to vote on the no-confidence motion registered by the CPN (Maoist Center). As the prime minister resigned prior to the scheduled voting and the president already endorsed it, the House did not need to vote.

Following Oli’s resignation, a process to elect new prime minister will start in parliament. As the largest party Nepali Congress and some other small political parties have already agreed to support CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal for new prime minister, Dahal is almost certain to replace Oli.

“As the House has already rejected the remaining bills related to the budget, I understand that I don’t have the support of majority in this House. The position of prime minister was not my ultimate goal. Therefore, I have submitted my resignation to the president to pave the way for electing a new prime minister,” said Oli addressing the House.

Oli’s government was reduced to minority after the coalition partner Maoist Center on July 12 pulled out of the government and decided to form a new coalition government with support from the NC. Following Maoist Center’s decision, other coalition partners Madhesi People’s Right Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Samajbadi Janata Party also quit the government.

President to call for consensus government

After approving Oli’s resignation, President Bidya Devi Bhandari will first call the parliament to initiate the process of forming a new government on the basis of political understanding within seven days.

“The parliament is already informed  about the approval of the resignation submitted by the prime minister and the President’s Office will soon send another letter to the parliament to initiate the process of forming government based on political understanding within seven days,” said Jibachchha Sah at the president’s personal secretariat. Sah, however, did not mention when the next letter will be sent to the parliament.

If a consensus government could not be formed within the given time, the parliament will elect a new prime minister based on majority.

Therefore, it could take at least more than nine days for Maoist Center Chairman Dahal to be elected prime minister.

Legal experts and leaders were at loggerheads arguing on whether the new government could be elected in line with Article 298 under the transitional provisions of the new constitution.

However, giving a new turn to the debate, the meeting of the council of ministers on Sunday recommended to president Bhandari to invoke Article 305 to remove constitutional difficulties for the formation of a new government.

“The cabinet has recommended the president to invoke the article to remove constitutional
difficulties so a new government could be formed in line with Article 298,” said Sherdhan Rai, the minister for information and communications.

“The Article 298 (2) states that the prime minister shall, on the basis of political understanding, be elected no later than seven days after the date of the commencement of the constitution. The clause of ‘no later than seven days after the date of commencement of the constitution’ was a hurdle in forming a new government. We have recommended the president to remove the same difficulty. Our recommendation will pave the way to form a new government in line with the Article 298,” explained Minister Rai.

Speaking in the parliament on Sunday, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba termed the cabinet’s recommendation unnecessary. Deuba said that his party, however, doesn’t object to the government’s move.

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