As Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is relieved from his duties after he lost the vote of confidence in the parliament yesterday, President Bidya Devi Bhandari has called for the formation of a majority government.
As soon as the Parliament Secretariat informed the president that Oli could not win the vote of confidence, President Bhandari had called for the formation of a majority government as per Article 76 (2) of the Constitution within three days.
Article 76 (2) of the Constitution states that the President shall appoint a member of the House of Representatives who can obtain a majority with support of two or more parties represented in the House of Representatives as the new prime minister.
Earlier, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN- Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and JSP-N Chairman Upendra Yadav had issued a joint statement immediately after Oli failed to win the vote of confidence in parliament.
President Bhandari has set the deadline to stake claim for the new prime minister by 9:00 pm on May 13.
Similarly, the House of Representatives issued another notice late on Monday informing that the President had ended the current session of the parliament effective from midnight.
After Oli failed to win the vote of confidence, the Cabinet meeting had recommended the President to end the parliamentary session as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Agni Sapkota had informed Monday’s parliamentary meeting that the next session would be held on Thursday.
The primary opposition party, Nepali Congress, has already announced its intention to form a government under its leadership with the support of CPN-Maoist Center and Baburam Bhattarai-Upendra Yadav-led faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal.
A party requires at least 136 votes from parliamentarians to form a majority government.
Nepali Congress (NC) has 61 members in the parliament, while the CPN-Maoist Center has a total 48 members.
Only 17 of the total 32 lawmakers of Bhattarai-Yadav faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal are in support of NC-led government.
NC will still require 10 more votes to form a coalition government.
Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Rastriya Janamorcha Party each have one seat in the parliament and neither of them have announced their support to either party as of yet.
If lawmakers close to the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction of UML decide to resign en masse, the opposition alliance may be in a position to secure majority seats in parliament and form a new government.
Oli lost the confidence vote in parliament on Monday, with 93 lawmakers voting in favor and 124 against, pitching the country into political turmoil at a time when it is battling a major second wave of coronavirus infections.
Oli’s moderate communist party split from former Maoist rebels in March after differences cropped up over its power-sharing deal, wiping out their governing majority.
Speaking during Monday’s parliamentary session, CPN-Maoist Center Chair Dahal accused Oli of sidelining party leaders, ignoring collective decision-making and undermining the role of parliament.
“He has created instability and is behind the crisis the country is facing now,” Dahal said. “He does not have the confidence of parliament anymore.”
Oli has been criticized by opponents and on social media for playing down the risk of the pandemic and asking citizens to “wash the virus down” the throat by drinking a solution of hot water, guava leaves and turmeric power.
Nepal on Monday reported a new 24-hour tally of 9,127 infections, 27 times the number recorded on April 10.
The total caseload stands at 403,794, with 3,859 deaths, according to government data.
Oli told parliament the government was focused on fighting the pandemic and had prepared more hospitals, ICU beds, ventilators and testing facilities to tackle COVID-19.
“The country needs dialogue, consensus, unity and understanding among political parties to fight against COVID-19 and for the economic development and prosperity of the country,” he said.