Prime Minister Deuba’s floor test: What if the Madhav Nepal faction stands against?

UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal congratulates PM Sher Bahadur Deuba following an oath-taking ceremony. (Photo: RSS)

Nishan Khatiwada

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will have to take the confidence vote by August 12 from the reinstated House of Representatives.  The Madhav Nepal faction of CPN-UML is a kingmaker in political arithmetics. However, the faction is divided over whether or not to support Deuba in the floor test. 

The leaders belonging to the faction have divided opinions. 

Deuba was appointed the prime minister following a court order on Monday that ruled the erstwhile prime minister KP Oli’s move to dissolve parliament “unconstitutional” and issued a mandamus order in the name of the President to appoint him as the prime minister within two days. 

Deuba will have to take the vote of confidence within 30 days of the appointment. Out of 271 lawmakers in Parliament, he needs at least 136 lawmakers’ votes to win the confidence motion. As of now, 61 MPs from Nepali Congress, 48 from CPN Maoist Center, 12 from Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal, one from Rastriya Janamorcha and an independent lawmaker are supporting Deuba. But 123 votes will not be sufficient, Deuba needs 13 more. 

Though some leaders of the Madhav Nepal faction have openly claimed to support Deuba in the floor test, others are either silent or are advocating for CPN-UML unity. 

Though some leaders of the Madhav Nepal faction have openly claimed to support Deuba in the floor test, others are either silent or are advocating for CPN-UML unity. 

A lawmaker from the Madhav Nepal faction, Metmani Chaudhari, said it is important to enable Deuba to serve for the remaining one and half years, not just support him. “Therefore, we will vote for him,” he said.

Speaking in a television interview, Yogesh Bhattarai, another CPN-UML leader said parliament should be allowed to serve for the remaining term. Madhav Nepal and KP Oli have no option other than to come to a common understanding, according to him. “If they don’t do so for the sake of protecting the Constitution and democracy, I appeal to party leaders, we have to move forward even by leaving them aside,” he said.

A CPN-UML Standing Committee meeting on Friday decided not to give a vote of confidence to Deuba. Pradeep Gyawali after the meeting said, “the Supreme Court has opened the way if anyone wants to vote in favor of a confidence motion. But we will play the role of opposition.” 

At the meeting, leaders such as Ghanashyam Bhusal, Gokarna Bista and others who are making last-ditch efforts to keep CPN-UML united were present. The decision of the Standing Committee meeting has added uncertainty to the longevity of the newly formed government.  

Likely scenarios: 

  • Madhav Nepal faction leaders will abide by the party’s decision and vote against the confidence motion to keep the party united. But since K P Oli has publicly ridiculed Madhav Nepal and declared that there is no room for Nepal in UML, it will be interesting to see how the Oli-Nepal rivalry will play out.
  • The Madhav Nepal faction will vote in favor of Sher Bahadur Deuba despite the possibility of CPN-UML split.
  • Some leaders of the faction will vote in favor and others against the confidence motion, creating split even inside the Madhav Nepal faction. 
  • Just in case Madhav Nepal faction finally changes its mind, Deuba will have to seek support from Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato faction of JSPN which has 20 lawmakers in Parliament. 

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