Amid dropping popularity, Nepal PM Prachanda heads for third vote of confidence within 15 months

World Wednesday 13/March/2024 10:50 AM
Amid dropping popularity, Nepal PM Prachanda heads for third vote of confidence within 15 months

Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is set to take his third vote of confidence within 15 months after forging a new alliance earlier this month.

As per the possible schedule of events published by the Parliament Secretariat, Dahal will be taking a vote of confidence during the meeting of the House of Representatives called for 11 am (local time) on Wednesday.

Dahal is testing the floor for the third time following the constitutional provision stated in the Constitution of Nepal 2072's Article 100 Sub-section (2), which mandates a Prime Minister to prove a majority in case any parties in the coalition walk out.

Making a surprise turn on March 4, Prime Minister Dahal decided to revive a coalition with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML), which caught the largest coalition partner, the Nepali Congress (NC), off guard.

A new coalition, including the CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Center, Rastriya Swatantra Party, and Janata Samajwadi Party, was initially formed.

On March 5, the Nepali Congress formally retracted support for the Dahal government, activating Article 100 Sub-section (2).

As per the parliamentary mathematics, Dahal is expected to get a comfortable majority. As of now, the CPN-UML has 77 seats, the Maoist Center has 32, the Rastriya Swatantra Party has 21, the Janata Samajbadi Party has 12, and the Unified Socialist Party has 10 seats in parliament.

A prime minister is required to cross the threshold of 50 per cent, which is 138 votes as per the present number of parliamentarians.

According to the calculations, Prime Minister Dahal has 152 votes.

All the parties on board the new coalition have issued a whip to vote for Dahal to avoid any floor crossing.

The largest party in the parliament in terms of seats in the federal parliament, the Nepali Congress, has also issued a whip to its parliamentarians to vote against Dahal.

The former Maoist rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, came to power in December 2022 when he aligned with arch-rival CPN-UML, duping the Nepali Congress, with whom he had allied in the November 2022 election.

The vote of confidence on January 10, 2023, resulted in extensive support for Dahal when he got a staggering 99 per cent vote, the highest in the known history of the Nepali parliament since the establishment of democracy.

A total of 268 parliamentarians out of the 270 present in that meeting voted in favour of Dahal.

Within 3 months, Dahal dumped CPN-UML to walk out of government again, aligning with the Nepali Congress and managed to secure a majority in the vote of confidence on March 20, 2023.

In the second round of the vote of confidence, Dahal got 172 votes out of the 262 lawmakers present at the time of voting. Only 89 votes came in against Dahal, while one member abstained from voting.

The Nepali Congress with 88 votes, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party with 14, the Janamat Party with 7, and the Loktantrik Samajbadi Party with 4 votes have announced to vote against Dahal in today's vote of confidence.

However, the Nagarik Unmukti Party, embroiled in an internal fiasco, is not certain about whom it would vote.