CPN-UML has pulled out of the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led coalition government over a presidential candidate dispute.
Days after the Rastriya Prajatantra Party quit the government, the UML ministers also tendered their resignation. UML was the coalition linchpin that elevated Dahal to power for the third time on December 25 last year. But the coalition broke down within just two months after the prime minister refused to back UML’s presidential candidate.
With UML and RPP out of the government, and another coalition partner, Rastriya Swatantra Party, having previously recalled its ministers over the citizenship controversy of its leader Rabi Lamichhane, 16 ministries are now without ministers.
As per article 100 of the constitution, the prime minister should now take a vote of confidence from Parliament. The article states: “In case the political party, which the Prime Minister represents, is divided or a political party in coalition government withdraws its support, the Prime Minister shall table a motion in the House of Representatives for a vote of confidence within 30 days.”
Experts, however, say that Dahal doesn’t have the luxury of taking 30 days to take Parliament’s floor test, as the major parties that supported him have pulled out from his government.
Lamichhane’s RSP is the only party that has not decided to withdraw its support to the Dahal government, despite recalling its ministers.
Constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari says this is not a normal situation for the prime minister. “Dahal’s major coalition partners have quit, so he must take the vote of confidence without any delay.”
Without the trust vote, Adhikari adds, the prime minister, who has essentially lost the majority, cannot engage in major parliamentary business.
Dahal was appointed prime minister with the support of 169 members in the 275-strong House of Representatives. The UML (78) and RPP (14) together made 92 votes.
Dahal’s party had secured only 32 seats in the parliamentary election held on November 20 last year. Without the UML and RPP support, his government has been rendered into a minority.
But with the main opposition, Nepali Congress, and other fringe parties behind Dahal, he is confident about saving his premiership.
Preliminary talks are already under way to form a new coalition.