Nepal’s parliament becomes opposition-less

In the parliamentary system, the role of an opposition party is considered crucial to follow the principle of check and balance. But Nepal’s parliament, on Tuesday, approved the opposition-less government.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Nepal’s grand old party Nepali Congress joined hands with the parties in the ruling coalition led by Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) rendering the government of the country ‘opposition-less.’ 

In a surprising political twist, Nepali Congress, the party which emerged as the largest force in the federal parliamentary elections held in November and the party that had earlier denied sharing power with Maoist chairperson Dahal, decided to vote in favor of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ in the floor test in parliament. 

On Tuesday morning, Nepali Congress had called a meeting of the central working committee. Party president Sher Bahadur Deuba had called a meeting of NC’s central work execution committee to get the decision to vote in favor of a trust motion for Dahal endorsed. 

Reportedly, some leaders of Nepali Congress, including general secretary duo Gagan Thapa and Bishwa Prakash Sharma, had opposed the idea. NC leaders Bala Bahadur KC and Arjun Narsingh KC had also stood against the idea of supporting the Dahal-led government. 

Pradeep Paudel, central committee member of the party, has also vocally criticized the decision.

Other dissident leaders within Nepali Congress have expressed their reservations against the decision of Deuba. ‘Opposition-less’ parliament is not conducive for democracy to keep an eye on the wrongdoings by the government, a dissident Nepali Congress leader told Nepal Live Today. “It is a surprising move for us [Nepali Congress leaders] and we have not understood what factors provoked the party leadership to take such a decision,” the leader said.

Nepal’s law related to remuneration and allowances to members of federal parliament states that at least 10 percent or more Members of Parliament (MPs) are required to be defined as opposition party. The law specifies that the leader of the largest party becomes the leader of the main opposition party in parliament. 

With the decision of Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, and other parties to support the trust motion of PM Dahal, it has become clear that the parliament will remain opposition-less. 

Prachanda has garnered support from Rashtriya Swatantra Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, CPN (Unified Socialist), Janamat Party, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party and some independent members of parliament. 

The octogenarian leader Chitra Bahadur KC, chairperson of Rastriya Janamorcha, and Prem Suwal, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, decided not to support Prachanda in his trust motion.  They have one seat each in the parliament. 

With the decision of Nepali Congress and other fringe parties to vote in favor of PM Dahal’s trust motion, the parliament is feared to serve the interest of top guns of major political parties.