CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is almost certain to be elected prime minister this week, reading a newspaper in parliament on Monday.(Dipesh Shrestha/Republica)
KATHMANDU, Aug 2: A week after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli submitted his resignation to President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Parliament is set to elect the 39th prime minister, on Wednesday.
With backing from the largest political party Nepali Congress (NC) in parliament and some fringe parties, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is almost certain to be elected the new prime minister.
United Democratic Madhesi Front-- the alliance of Madhes-based political parties-- is also likely to vote for Dahal as a joint taskforce has been working out an agreement on the commitment of the new government to address the demands of the UDMF regarding constitutional amendments. An agreement between NC, the Maoist Center and UDMF is expected to be inked before the election of the PM.
However, another coalition led by CPN-UML is looking for candidates to contest against Dahal in the prime ministerial election. It has not finalized its candidate as of Monday evening. UML Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader Subas Nembang is likely to contest against Dahal, according to multiple sources in the party. Some leaders of the party also see a chance of UML Vice Chairman Bamdev Gautam contesting against Dahal for PM.
“We are finalizing a candidate from our side at a Standing Committee meeting of the party on Tuesday morning,” said Nembang. The UML-led alliance has around nine political parties in parliament, but their strength is not enough to secure a majority in the 595-member body.
Following a call from President Bhandari to elect the new prime minister through a majority process, Speaker Onsari Gharti announced at the House meeting Monday that the election for the new prime minister would be held at 11 am, Wednesday. General Secretary at the Parliament Secretariat Manohar Bhattarai unveiled the election schedule after receiving instructions from the Speaker.
According to the schedule, lawmakers can file candidacy from 11 am to 4 pm on Tuesday. A final list of candidates will be published at 4:30 pm the same day. Voting to elect the new prime minister will begin at 11 am, Wednesday.
After the political parties failed to agree on a consensus name for prime minister within the given seven days, the president had written to parliament earlier on Monday to elect the new prime minister through a majority process.
Article 298 of the constitution has a mandatory provision for allocating seven days for parliament to find a consensus candidate for prime minister.
Prime Minister K P Oli resigned on July 24 just ahead of voting on a no-confidence motion against him. Pulling its support from the government, the Maoist Center had then formed a new coalition with the main opposition NC.