Kathmandu, December 18
President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Sunday called on all the political parties of Nepal to form a new government within seven days, as Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba discussed power sharing deal with the coalition partner Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.
The President’s call comes following the submission of a report by the Election Commission of the final results of the election of members of the House of Representatives (HoR) and Provincial Assembly held on November 20.
As no single party got a majority in the HoR election, the President has called for submitting a claim by a member of the HoR who can garner a majority with support from two or more parties, as stipulated in the Article 76 clause 2 of the Constitution.
The deadline for submission of the claim is 5 pm on December 25, according to a statement issued by the Office of the President.
No party in the 275-member House of Representatives has 138 seats required to form a government.
The Nepali Congress (NC) led by Deuba emerged as the single largest party in the election with 89 seats followed by opposition CPN-UML with 78 seats and CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda secured 32 seats.
The newly-formed Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) has 20 seats, Rastriya Prajatantra Party 14, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) 12 and Janamat Party six seats.
CPN (Unified Socialist) has 10 seats, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP) has four, and Nagarik Unmukti Party has three seats. Rastriya Janamorcha and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party have one seat each. There are five independent members in the Lower House.
The Nepali Congress along with the other ruling alliances has the combined strength of 136 seats, two seats short of forming the majority government.
The President’s call to form the new government comes at a time when political parties have engaged themselves in hectic consultations.
Prime Minister Deuba met Prachanda at the PM’s official residence Baluwatar on Saturday and discussed formation of the new government and power sharing among others, according to party sources.
According to a report in the Kathmandu Post newspaper, Nepali Congress spokesperson Prakash Sharan Mahat said Prachanda in his meeting with Deuba has formally sought his support to become prime minister in the first half of the five-year term.
While forging an electoral alliance ahead of the November 20 polls, Deuba and Prachanda had reportedly struck a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ on leading the government by turns.
Mahat said while Prachanda’s proposal was to be expected, it would be more natural for the Nepali Congress, as the largest party to emerge from the elections, to lead the government.
Asked if Prachanda sought Deuba’s support to become the new prime minister, CPN-MC leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said he asked Deuba how he wanted to proceed, to which he replied all coalition partners should decide within their respective outfits, the Himalayan Times newspaper reported.
Prachanda has been projecting himself as a claimant for the executive head since much before the elections in public forums.
Deuba, who is the front-runner to become the prime minister for the sixth time, has not given any definite answer to Prachanda, a source close to the prime minister told The Kathmandu Post newspaper.
The ruling coalition, which has decided to remain intact to form the next government, has multiple prime ministerial aspirants, especially from the Nepali Congress.
During the election campaign, at least half a dozen senior Nepali Congress leaders had disclosed their intent to fight for the prime ministerial position should they win the election.
The Congress is struggling to elect its parliamentary party leader as per the party statute.
Despite his party winning fewer seats this time, Prachanda was encouraged to stake his claim to the leadership of a new coalition after the CPN-UML led by former premier K P Sharma Oli started luring him with a promise of support for his prime ministerial bid, sources told The Kathmandu Post.
A few days back, Prachanda had said that his party has the key to forming the next government.
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