June 6, 2017 05:30 AM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
-House likely to elect Deuba as new PM today
-Oppn agrees to end House obstruction
KATHMANDU, June 6: With the main opposition CPN-UML agreeing to end obstructing parliament, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba is all set to get elected as the new prime minister on Wednesday, 12 years after he was sacked by the then King Gyanendra Shah. This is going to be his fourth stint as the country's chief executive.
The UML decided to end House obstruction after the ruling parties expressed commitment to holding local elections in the remaining four provinces on June 28 and the provincial and parliamentary elections by January 2018 in a free and fair environment.
Though it was earlier planned to conduct voting in the House to elect the new prime minister on Sunday, the plan was postponed until Tuesday due to the UML's warning to obstruct the House meeting. The main opposition party has been obstructing parliament meetings to protest against the Election Commission's decision to conduct re-poll in Bharatpur Metropolitan City. But the UML softened its stance after the Supreme Court started hearing on a writ petition registered on Sunday challenging the EC's decision.
“We decided to end the obstruction in parliament after the ruling parties agreed to commit in the House to hold elections the remaining four provinces in a free and fair environment and not repeating any irregularities,” said former UML chairman Jhal Nath Khanal after the ruling-opposition meeting.
NC President Deuba is the sole candidate in the PM election as main opposition UML or any other party didn't register their candidacies. Deuba has the support of more than enough lawmakers needed for his election. As per the constitution, a candidate must secure a simple majority in parliament to get elected as the head of the government.
“We agreed to express commitment to hold the elections without any rigging and irregularities and the UML decided to end its obstruction of parliament in return,” said CPN (Maoist Center) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
Another Maoist leader involved in the inter-party negotiations said that the UML leaders softened their position as the Supreme Court, while asking the Election Commission to halt the re-poll process in Bharatpur, scheduled the next hearings for June 11. “UML leaders had expected an order from the Supreme Court today itself. As the court prolonged the process, they might have thought it wouldn't be possible to obstruct the House for long,” said the Maoist leader.
NC leader and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi said that the House will elect the new prime minister on Tuesday. “The country will get a new prime minister on Tuesday. Parliament will vote to elect the new prime minister in the second sitting of the House,” Nidhi told the media.
The three-time former Prime Minister Deuba is likely to form a small Cabinet on Wednesday, said his close aides.