Amid high-drama at Nepal Presidents office on Friday evening, both the ruling and opposition parties staked claim to form the new government in the Himalayan nation.
After both Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and opposition leader Sher Bahadur declared to have majority signatures and staked claim over the new government, the President’s office said that it will verify the signatures and will reach a conclusion soon.
Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had on Thursday called for the formation of the new government as per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution. Any individual lawmaker who can garner majority votes could stake claim for the top post, it was said.
Bhandari’s office said in a statement that the President has called on the members of the House of Representatives to present claim for a new Prime Minister as per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution.
After Oli failed to win a vote of confidence on May 10, the President had called on the opposition parties to form a coalition government as per Article 76-2 of the Constitution by May 13.
After the opposition failed to form the coalition government, Bhandari invoked Article 76-3 and reappointed Oli as the Prime Minister on May 13, as the leader of the opposition parties. The Prime Minister appointed under the Article 76-3 should also seek a vote of confidence within one month, it was said.
But Oli, not seeking a vote of confidence, recommended the President on Thursday evening to invoke Article 76-5 as he did not hold majority in the House. Bhandari, who belongs to Oli’s party and has always supported Oli, invoked the article and called on any individual lawmaker to stake claim over the new government by 5 pm on Friday.
Before the President’s deadline ended, opposition parties- Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center), a section of Oli’s own lawmakers and a faction of the Janata Samajbai Party- reached the President office with the signatures of 149 lawmakers.
At least 26 lawmakers from Oli’s party signed to appoint opposition party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba as the next Prime Minister. Any lawmaker who claimed the majority needed 136 votes. As soon as the opposition parties reached the President’s office, officials there informed the opposition party leaders that Oli has also submitted the signatures of 153 lawmakers.
Oli said in his claim that he has the support of 121 members and 32 from the Janata Samajbai Party.
With the support of Janata Samajbai Party, the Prime Minister has staked claim over the new government, Oli’s Chief Advisor Bishnu Rimal said. However, 26 lawmakers from his own party and 13 from the Janata Samajbai Party had also signed in the opposition’s claim.
“After the signatures of 39 lawmakers were found on both sides, we now have to verify those signatures and will reach a decision soon,” said Tika Dhakal, communication expert to President Bhandari.
Out of the 149 signatures, 61 lawmakers of the Nepali Congress, 49 of the Maoist Centre, 26 of the Nepal faction of the UML and 12 of the Upendra Yadav-led faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal and one from Janamorcha Nepal have supported Deuba.