June 1, 2017 09:00 PM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
KATHMANDU, June 1: Speaker Onsari Gharti is preparing to hold the election of the new prime minister on Sunday after President Bidya Devi Bhandari officially called for the choosing of the prime minister through a majority vote in parliament.
Gharti has summoned a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of parliament for Friday to finalize the nomination and election calendar. According to CPN (Maoist Center) Chief Whip Tek Bahadur Basnet, parliament is likely to vote in a new prime minister on Sunday, at 11 a.m. Gharti said the nomination process for the new prime ministerial race is likely to be scheduled for Saturday .
However, the election on Sunday is still uncertain as the main opposition CPN-UML is obstructing parliament, demanding resumption of vote counting in the Bharatpur Metropolitan City election. Speaker Gharti was supposed to announce the date for electing the new prime minister but could not do so due to UML's House obstruction.
“The speaker cannot start the election process amid the House obstruction. We are not going to end our obstruction unless the vote counting in Bharatpur is resumed,” said UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal.
Vote counting in Bharatpur was halted after ballot papers were torn up during the vote count. Two CPN (Maoist Center) representatives have been released on bail after being accused of tearing up the ballots. .
After the political parties failed to choose a new prime minister through political consensus, President Bhandari on Thursday asked parliament to elect the prime minister through a majority process . Article 298 of the constitution has a mandatory provision for allowing a week's time for the political parties to find a consensus candidate. Earlier, on May 25, Bhandari had called for electing the prime minister within a week through consensus among the parties represented in parliament.
No prime minister has been elected through the consensus provision since the introduction of the provision over a decade ago, because of sharp divisions and power plays among the political parties .
Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba is likely to be elected prime minister thanks to a power-sharing deal with Maoist Center.
The current government became a caretaker one after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigned from his post on May 24 as per the understanding reached between Maoist Center and Nepali Congress on July 12 last year. As per the understanding, Nepali Congress will head a new government until a new parliament is elected. The constitution has a mandatory provision for concluding the election of the federal parliament and the provincial assemblies by January 2018.
Main opposition CPN-UML is also preparing to contest for the new prime minister.
However, the opposition alliance led by UML is yet to finalize a candidate.
The new prime minister will have the responsibility of concluding the second phase local polls in the remaining four provinces and the two other sets of elections for the implementation of the new constitution.