NEPAL PRIME MINISTER Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Wednesday resigned as part of a power-sharing deal and to pave way for his coalition partner, Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba, to replace him.
Prachanda submitted his resignation to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari in the afternoon shortly after he announced the decision through a nationally televised address.
His attempt to do the same from the Parliament had been repeatedly foiled by the main Opposition Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) that resorted to obstruction of the House asserting that the PM should not resign at a time when local elections were underway.
“I have taken Nepali politics to a new moral height,” he said. “I am happy to quit as a successful Prime Minister having performed some rare feats like holding election to local bodies after a gap of 20 years, and pursuing a balanced and pragmatic foreign policy with neighbouring countries India and China,” he added.
President Bhandari accepted Dahal’s resignation and asked him to continue as the caretaker Prime Minister.
Election of his successor is expected to take a little over a week as the President will ask Parliament to elect its new leader through consensus. With chances of a consensus-based election almost nonexistent, the House looks set to opt for another exercise — election through majority — afterwards.
Prachanda and Deuba in July, had signed an understanding that the Nepali Congress and the Maoist Centre (Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist) would forge an alliance, dislodge the K P Oli-led government, and lead the government on rotational basis until elections to the Parliament are held in February 2018.
Prachanda’s resignation came at the end of his agreed tenure, and all indication point out that the Maoists, Nepali Congress, Forum Loktantrik and the Rastriya Janata Party (RJP) will provide the majority support in the House with an effective strength of 593. The RJP may, however, stay outside the government.
Dahal did not explicitly name CPN-UML, but his speech was loaded with jabs targeted at the Opposition. “They raised doubts about the future of the (Kathmandu-Tarai) fast-track road and that of the Chinese proposal on the Belt and Road initiative. I know they had malafide intent,” he said. “We have joined the Belt and Road initiative, and the fast-track road has been handed over to the Nepal army for construction.”
The CPN-UML has repeatedly accused Prachanda of being “pro-India”.