March 12, 2018 06:30 AM NPT
(Left) Prime Minister KP Oli replying to questions from parliamentarians before seeking the vote of confidence in parliament on Sunday. (Right) Members of parliament giving their vote of confidence to the KP Oli government through voice vote in parliament on Sunday.
Nepali Congress leaders said that there is a danger that Oli might end up becoming a dictator with little regard for checks and balances of power.
KATHMANDU, Mar 12: Over two-thirds parliamentarians gave their vote of confidence to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli as the ruling alliance on Sunday provided evidence of supermajority in the House.
Three weeks after Oli took the helm of the government with support of the UML and the CPN (Maoist Center), the parliament on Sunday held a vote to confirm government's claim of majority in parliament. It is mandatory for a new prime minister to prove his majority in the House within 30 days of his appointment.
In the voting held at parliament late afternoon, Prime Minister Oli, who steered an alliance of the CPN-UML and Maoist Center to a resounding win in the parliamentary and provincial elections, secured 208 votes in the 275-member parliament. A total of 268 lawmakers took part in the voting.
Besides the UML and the Maoist Center, Oli received support of various fringe parties including the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), Rastriya Janamorcha (RJ), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and an independent parliamentarian. The UML and the Maoist Center have 121 and 53 parliamentarians respectively, while the two Madhes-based parties have 16 members each. Janamorcha and RPP have one seat each. RJPN's parliamentarian-elect Resham Chaudhary, who is undergoing trail over his alleged involvement in the Tikapur massacre, and Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara did not participate in the voting.
The two-Madhes based parties are in talks with the left alliance to join the government.
In the run up to the voting, Oli and leaders of his party had sought support of all parties and independent lawmakers in parliament. But lawmakers from Nepali Congress, which has 59 seats and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, which has one seat in parliament, voted against Oli. Naya Shakti Nepal did not take part in the voting as its only lawmaker former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai is abroad.
With Sunday's vote, Oli has become the first prime minister to command two-thirds majority in parliament since the political change of 1990.
Leaders of the left alliance claim that the two-thirds majority will warrant a stable government for the next five years. They said that the supermajority would help the prime minister deliver on the economic front.
But not all agree. NC leaders said that there is a danger that Oli might end up becoming a dictator with little regard for checks and balances of power. NC President Deuba has long been questioning Oli's commitment to independent judiciary and free press.
Aware of the attacks being directed towards him by NC lawmakers, Oli, in his first address to parliament on Sunday, said he was committed to the democratic values and principles.
"I urge friends not to doubt my commitment to democracy. I have fought for democracy for half a century. I assure you," Oli told the parliamentarians.