Claims and counterclaims of majority: Experts say President Bhandari should decide based on facts and proofs

President Bhandari

Nishan Khatiwada

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: Though KP Sharma Oli showed up in the last moment with a claim that he has the majority of 153 lawmakers, the President should decide based on the facts and proofs, experts told Nepal Live Today. 

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has often been seen to take decisions in favor of Prime Minister Oli, even by courting controversies. 

Amid the twists and turns in the political scenario, KP Oli claimed the majority government on Friday as per Article 76 (5) of the constitution. On Thursday, he had recommended the president to invoke article 76 (5) citing that winning the vote of confidence within 30 days of his reappointment was impossible. 

But the irony is that KP Oli has claimed for the post of Prime Minister citing he has the support of 153 lawmakers, enough to form a government just about an hour before the deadline given by the president to political parties to stake claim for the new government as per Article 76 (5). He was already present in the Sheetal Niwas when the opposition alliance reached there with 149 lawmakers’ signatures. KP Oli’s claim is based on the support of 121 lawmakers from CPN UML and 32 from the JSPN.

Why does it matter? 

If KP Oli had 153 lawmakers in his grip, then why did he skip the floor test? Next, JSPN is divided on the issue of Parliamentary party leader. In such a case, is Rajendra Mahato’s solo signature valid to stake a claim? Both the opposition alliance and KP Oli have claimed the Madhav Nepal faction in their support.

How can 27 lawmakers belonging to the Madhav Nepal faction both be for Oli as well as opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba? This has generated suspicions of forgery of signatures–either by Oli or Deuba side. 

KP Oli, if he had 153 lawmakers on his side, could easily have won the vote of confidence. So, why did he come up with the new game at the last moment? Or is it just a game played by him to obstruct the formation of a new government by the opposition alliance? 

KP Oli has not furnished the proof of the support from the individual MPs as he does not have 32 lawmakers from the JSPN. JSPN’s Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai were present with the opposition alliance.

Article 76 (5) states that in cases where the Prime Minister appointed under clause (3) fails to obtain a vote of confidence under clause (4) and any member under clause (2) presents a ground on which he or she can obtain a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives, the President shall appoint such member as the Prime Minister. “In such a case, one has to show the support of individual MPs because they are the ones to give the vote of confidence,” said Tara Nath Dahal, a senior journalist and press freedom fighter. 

The opposition alliance has the signatures of the individual MPs and the opposition leaders like Madhav Nepal and Upendra Yadav were present with Sher Bahadur Deuba. Oli has claimed the support of the CPN-UML and the JSPN party as a whole while Sher Bahadur Deuba has shown the signatures of the 149 lawmakers.

What next? 

KP Oli has not furnished the proof of the support from the individual MPs as he does not have 32 lawmakers from the JSPN. JSPN’s Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai were present with the opposition alliance. 

Dahal believes that the president should make the decision based on the facts and proofs. “President can verify all the numbers if she wishes. Either she can decide based on the proofs and facts as of now, or she can verify them before taking the decision,” he added. Based on the proofs and facts, KP Oli lacks proof and his claim is clearly false. 

“Just yesterday, KP Oli said that he could not gain the majority for the vote of confidence. And today, he is saying that he has the majority, here is the irony. This is the clear evidence that he lacks majority in the house,” Dahal explained. 

Political analyst Hari Roka agrees that the President needs to verify the claims before making the decision. “They are just the claims and verification is crucial to find out whether both of the parties’ claims are true or not. President should count the heads supporting both the claims.”

Constitutional experts say the President should appoint a member who has come up with the signatures of the MPs. “If the President has any doubt on the signatures, there is an alternative to verify,” said Purna Man Shakya, a legal expert and senior advocate.