PM Dahal under constitutional obligation to seek vote of confidence as UML and RPP withdraw their support to govt

Published On: February 28, 2023 08:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 28: Nepal’s political landscape has seen another round of turmoil as ministers from the CPN-UML resigned en masse on Monday, following in the footsteps of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) ministers a day ago.

This has put Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal under constitutional obligation to seek a vote of confidence in parliament in less than two months after assuming his office. The latest development comes after the CPN (Maoist Center) broke its alliance with the UML and endorsed Nepali Congress (NC) candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

A secretariat meeting the UML on Monday morning decided to withdraw from the cabinet after Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudyal was asked not to travel to Geneva to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting at the eleventh hour. All the seven ministers representing the UML tendered their resignation en masse to Prime Minister Dahal on Monday afternoon.

Earlier, four RPP ministers had tendered resignation to Prime Minister Dahal after the Maoist Center decided to endorse NC candidate Ram Chandra Poudel as the new president. The RPP, which was part of the ruling alliance, decided to withdraw its support to the government alleging that the Maoist Center did not honor the agreement with the UML to support the latter’s candidate in the presidential election.

As per the Article 100 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal, 2015, the prime minister needs to table a motion in the House of Representatives for a vote of confidence within thirty days in case the political party, which the prime minister represents, is divided or a political party in coalition government withdraws its support.  The prime minister is automatically relieved from the post in case such a motion is not adopted by a majority of the total number of the then members of the House of Representatives as per the Article 100 (3) of the constitution.

Although the UML and RPP have withdrawn their support, Prime Minister Dahal still commands support of majority members in parliament since he had received 268 votes in parliament. Despite this, the Dahal-led government will need to win a vote of confidence from parliament within 30 days since the RPP quit the government on February 25 as per the constitutional arrangement.

Although the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) earlier decided to withdraw from the government, the party has not taken any decision to withdraw its support to the government. This puts the Dahal-led government in a comfortable majority despite the UML and RPP deciding to pull themselves out of the government.

Leaders said NC, which is receiving the support of the Maoist Center, is expected to join the Dahal-led government anytime soon. “The decision of the UML to pull itself out of the government has paved the way for that. The exact date is yet to be fixed,” said a senior NC leader, asking not to be named.

An eight-party alliance including the NC and the Maoist Center has been formed to elect NC candidate Ram Chandra Poudel as the new president of the country. The alliance also includes Loktantrik Samajbadi Party and Nagarik Unmukti Party that have lent their support to the Dahal-led government.

General Secretary of Maoist Center Dev Gurung said Prime Minister Dahal will take a vote of confidence on an appropriate date before or after the election of the new president. “Of course, the prime minister must secure a vote of confidence within 30 days. We still have 28 days to do that,” he said. “Prime Minister Dahal will secure a vote of confidence as per the consultation with the parties in the alliance.”


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