Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav Friday initiated the process for the election of a new prime minister by consensus within a week as per the advice of the incumbent Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
“As per the commitment I made publicly that I would quit immediately after the Constitution is promulgated, I would request the President to initiate to have my successor elected,” Koirala told the Parliament, soon after he overruled Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam’s insistence for his resignation during the cabinet meeting.
Koirala subsequently called on the President to repeat the same plea. A communique issued by the President’s office said that the President has called for election of the Prime Minister through consensus as per Article 298 (2) of the Constitution, failing which the President would be invoke other clauses of the Constitution for election of a prime minister by a simple majority.
An aide to the President told The Indian Express that Koirala’s refusal to resign will not make his position different from a “caretaker prime minister’s”.
There were apprehensions that Koirala’s refusal would trigger a massive polarisation within the parties that will either stall altogether, or delay the election of K P Oli, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, and a front runner for the post.
The new Constitution envisages the mandatory election of the prime minister within a week after the House is convened, that of the Speaker in two weeks and that of the President in four weeks.
“The Prime Minister’s refusal to resign and propose the election of his successor is a political strategy, rather than an act of deference to the Constitution,” said Dr Bipin Adhikary, a constitutional lawyer.