Prachanda appointed Nepal’s new prime minister

As Congress-led alliance failed to forge an agreement in the eleventh hour, Maoist leader Prachanda immediately rushed to KP Oli’s residence to seek support to form the new government.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has become the Prime Minister for the third time.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointed Dahal, 68, as the Prime Minister as per Article 76 (2) of the constitution of Nepal, confirmed Tika P Dhakal, press advisor to the President.

Dahal was appointed to the post on Sunday as the largest party in parliament–Nepali Congress–failed to secure a majority to form the new government.

A dramatic turn of political events on Sunday broke the five-party democrat-communist coalition of five parties, paving the way for Dahal to become the Prime Minister with the support of seven parties.

The new alliance comprises seven political parties–CPN-UML, Maoist-Center, Rastriya Swatantra Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Janata Samajwadi Party, Janamat Party and Nagarik Unmukti Party.

On Sunday evening, heads of seven parties and some independent Members of Parliament (MPs) had sent a formal letter to the President declaring their support to Maoist chairperson Prachanda as the next Prime Minister. Independent candidates Prabhu Shah, Amresh Kumar Singh and Kiran Kumar Shah have signed the letter. 

Nepal’s federal parliament constitutes 275 members. As per Nepal’s law, as many as 138 lawmakers are necessary to establish a majority and claim the premiership. The new alliance of seven parties has a strength of 166 seats.

The CPN-UML has 78 seats, Maoist Centre 32, Rastriya Swatantra Party 20, Rastriya Prajatantra Party 14, Janamat Party 6, Janata Samajbadi Party 12 and Nagarik Unmukti Party 4 seats in the lower house.

The meeting of seven parties also reached an agreement that Prachanda would lead the government for the first two and a half years. Likewise, the second half of the five-year term would be led by Oli, according to Dev Gurung, general secretary of Maoist Center.

Prachanda first became prime minister on August 18, 2008, and served till May 25, 2009. He again came to power on August 4, 2016, and served till June 7, 2017.   During both terms, he was not able to deliver on good governance and development. Since he joined mainstream politics, Prachanda has earned the reputation of being an unreliable partner in coalition politics. He has helped form the governments but in nearly all cases, he himself has also been the cause to trigger the 

Earlier in the afternoon, a meeting of the ruling alliance failed to forge an agreement as Sher Bahadur Deuba, president of Nepali Congress, refused to hand over the post of prime minister to Prachanda for the first two years.

As per the constitution, the newly-appointed prime minister is required to win the vote of confidence in the House of Representatives within 30 days of appointment.

Nepal conducted federal parliament and provincial assembly elections on November 20. No political party secured a majority to form the government.