RPP takes centre stage as parties do the math

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
Even if the ruling alliance manages to persuade the RPP to vote in favour, it needs to steal three more votes from the opposition

Jan 5, 2017-After a Supreme Court ruling on the constitution amendment bill, which has been interpreted by the governing parties and the main opposition to their liking, the Rastriya Prajantra Party (RPP), has started to take the centre stage. 

The ruling and opposition parties are now making bids to woo the RPP which has 37 seats in Parliament. 

If the amendment bill is put to vote, two-thirds majority will be needed for it to pass in the House, and the governing parties are making efforts to ensure the required 396 votes in the 594-strong Parliament.

For the opposition alliance led by the CPN-UML, at least 200 votes will be required to fail the bill. The UML on Tuesday met second-rung leaders of the RPP, seeking the latter’s support to vote against the bill. RPP Chief Whip Dilnath Giri confirmed that the meeting had taken place. Currently, 201 lawmakers of nine opposition parties are protesting against the amendment bill, and with this number the UML-led bloc can easily block the constitution amendment. Nonetheless, the UML does not seem very confident, as it believes fringe parties like Nepal Pariwar Dal and Dalit Janajati Party, which are unhappy with the Maoist-Congress coalition for not giving ministerial berths to them, may not support the opposition bid to fail the bill. 

The UML believes these two parties can side with the governing parties if they are offered ministerial berths. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal still has three Cabinet seats with him, and he could distribute them among these two parties. If these two parties decide not to vote against the bill, the UML-led opposition alliance will be left with 198 seats, a little shy of the required number to fail the amendment bill. 

What is interesting is the governing parties will also require RPP’s support for getting the bill endorsed in the House. 

The ruling alliance currently has 324 lawmakers on its side, including some Madhes-based parties who are likely to vote for the amendment. 

Hence the RPP emerges as a game changer. 

If Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik and CPN (Samyukta), which have 32 seats, vote for the amendment, the ruling alliance will still need 40 more votes to prove a two-thirds majority. Even if the governing alliance manages to persuade the RPP to vote in favour of the amendment, it needs to steal three more votes from the opposition bloc. According to RPP sources, the Madhesi parties have also approached the party for the support. 

 

Numbers game

-    The ruling alliance currently has 324 lawmakers on its side, including some Madhes-based parties. If Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik and CPN (Samyukta), which have 32 seats, vote for the amendment, it will still need 40 more votes to prove a two-thirds majority

-    201 lawmakers of the opposition bloc are against the bill. But the UML does not seem very confident, as it believes fringe parties like Nepal Pariwar Dal and Dalit Janajati Party may not support the opposition bid to fail the bill

Published: 05-01-2017 07:59

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment