Voting to elect new PM most likely on Sunday

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Officials say UML might let the House function on Sunday as the vote counting row is likely to be settled by then

Jun 2, 2017-Voting to elect the new prime minister is most likely to take place on Sunday. However, sources said it will depend on how the CPN-UML responds to the ongoing situation, especially to the vote counting fiasco in Bharatpur Metropolitan City.

After the seven-day deadline to pick a consensus prime minister ended on Wednesday, President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Thursday wrote to the Parliament Secretariat to initiate the process to form new government on the majority basis as per Article 298 (3) of the constitution. 

After receiving the go-ahead from the President, the Parliament Secretariat was preparing to start the process to form new government on the basis of majority by informing the House on Thursday itself. But the UML resorted to House obstruction, demanding that vote counting in Bharatpur be resumed immediately.

Fracas on Sunday midnight in Bharatpur had resulted in the halt of vote counting, which is yet to resume. 

CPN (Maoist Centre) representatives had allegedly torn ballot papers at around 11:45pm on Sunday when UML’s Devi Acharya was leading. Maoist Centre’s Renu Dahal, who is the daughter of Prime Minister Puhspa Kamal Dahal, is Acharya’s closest competitor.  As per the Election Commission’s instruction, the chief election officer on Thursday counted the number of torn ballot papers in Bharatpur. A report has been sent to the EC, which is yet to take a final decision on the matter. 

It is learnt that Speaker Onasari Gharti is planning to start the process of government formation by issuing a notice. 

“A meeting of the Business Advisory Committee has been called for Friday. A decision will be taken based on its recommendation,” said Bharat Raj Gautam, spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat. 

According to sources, the Parliament Secretariat will issue a notice after Friday’s BAC meeting. 

An election committee led by Manohar Bhattarai, general secretary at the Parliament Secretariat, will be formed to begin the election process as per Article 298 (3) of the Constitution of Nepal which says: “[if parties fail to pick a consensus candidate for the post of prime minister in seven days], the prime minister shall be elected by a majority of all the then members of the Legislature-Parliament.”

It is most likely that nomination(s) for the post of prime minister will be called on Saturday. Officials believe the UML will allow the House to function on Sunday, as the vote counting row in Bharatpur will be settled by then. “The country will get a new prime minister on Sunday if no new crisis emerges,” a source close to Speaker Gharti told the Post. 

The current ruling alliance of the Nepali Congress and the Maoist Centre holds majority in Parliament, hence NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba seems all set to become the 40th prime minister—for a fourth time. It is not clear whether the UML will field its own candidate for the prime ministerial post. 

Published: 02-06-2017 07:52

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