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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Sher Bahadur Deuba wins vote of confidence in Nepal Parliament

A total of 165 members voted in support of Deuba, with just 83, mostly loyalists of CPN-UML chairman and outgoing prime minister K P Sharma Oli, casting their votes against.

Written by Yubaraj Ghimire | Kathmandu |
Updated: July 19, 2021 12:20:48 am
NepalNepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba (Reuters)

Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba secured a comfortable majority in the House of Representatives on Sunday, with his Nepali Congress being joined by most other parties — including a section of the main opposition Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) — in supporting the vote of confidence tabled in the House on the first day that it convened after it was reinstated by the Supreme Court.

A total of 165 members voted in support of Deuba, with just 83, mostly loyalists of CPN-UML chairman and outgoing prime minister K P Sharma Oli, casting their votes against.

The vote came after hours of debate, which saw a series of allegations and counter-allegations. The CPN-UML maintained that Oli was right to dissolve the House and call new elections, and criticised the Supreme Court judgment. But Dueba’s supporters, including senior leaders from multiple parties, accused Oli of being dictatorial in having twice dissolved the House. Oli was also criticised for what opponents say was an excessive use of ordinances.

Deuba, meanwhile, said his government’s priority was to ensure Covid-19 vaccine supply, and to keep friendly relations with all neighbouring countries.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre, said Oli was an “autocrat” and someone who failed to act as per the spirit of the peace process and the Constitution. He accused President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Oli of systematically going against the Constitution. “Bhandari did not act fairly and as per the letter and spirit of the Constitution when she denied Deuba the right to be invited to form the government after he had submitted support of 149 members of the House… on May 22.”

“I had told her that we are ready for physical verification, and was hoping that she would refer it to the House to formally elect him as the prime minister,” Prachanda said. He added that Bhandari chose to dismiss the House on Oli’s recommendation and appointed the same person who had lost the mandate as the prime minister again. Prachanda was referring to the fact that Oli had lost a vote of confidence in the House days before the House was dissolved.

Oli was ousted as the prime minister following a unanimous verdict of a five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court on July 12. The Bench ruled that the dissolved House be reinstated and that Deuba be appointed prime minister based on the letter of support that he had submitted to the President.

Deuba was required to seek a vote of confidence in the House within a month of being appointed prime minister.

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