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Monday, July 26, 2021

Sher Bahadur Deuba sworn in as Nepal’s Prime Minister for 5th time

President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office to Deuba at a ceremony held at her office on Tuesday evening. Deuba, 75, president of the Nepali Congress, was sworn in as Prime Minister for the fifth time.

Written by Yubaraj Ghimire | Kathmandu |
Updated: July 14, 2021 3:05:01 am
Newly appointed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba after formally assuming office, in Kathmandu. (Reuters)

Sher Bahadur Deuba took oath as the Prime Minister of Nepal on Tuesday, a day after the country’s Supreme Court overturned the dissolution of the House of Representatives and said that Deuba must be appointed PM.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office to Deuba at a ceremony held at her office on Tuesday evening. Deuba, 75, president of the Nepali Congress, was sworn in as Prime Minister for the fifth time.

However, the swearing in ceremony was delayed by hours due to a dispute between Deuba and the President’s office regarding the content of the letter of appointment.

“The President has appointed Sher Bahadur Deuba as the Prime Minister as per the verdict of the Supreme court yesterday (Monday),” a statement issued by President Bhandari’s office had initially said. But Bhandari was later forced issue another letter in which the relevant article of the Constitution under which the appointment was being made was mentioned. The second letter came after Deuba insisted he would not take the oath of office without the change being made in the initial letter.

It took more than three hours for the issue to be resolved.

Bhandari consulted with the top political leaders supporting Deuba’s candidature — Madhav Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai, Upendra Yadav and Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ — regarding the issue before accepting Deuba’s demand, even as guests were waiting at the venue of the swearing in ceremony.

Raman Shrestha, a former attorney-general, said the omission of the relevant article in the letter of appointment was a deliberate move to make it clear that the President was appointing Deuba, despite her reluctance, only because of the Supreme Court order.

The final letter of appointment and the text of the oath said that Deuba was being appointed PM under Article 76(5) of the Constitution, which makes it mandatory for him to secure a vote of confidence in the House within 30 days of taking oath.

Four other ministers — Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and Balkrishna Khand of the Nepali Congress, and Janardan Sharma and Pampha Bhusal of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) —were inducted into the government.

Outgoing Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli called the Supreme Court order to appoint Deuba “improper”. He further criticised the Supreme Court, saying that a PM is not appointed by a court anywhere in the world.

A five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court, in its order on Monday, had said that Deuba must be appointed the Prime Minister in line with Article 76(5) of the Constitution.

As per Article 76(5), any member of the House who presents a ground on which she/he can garner a vote of confidence in the House gets appointed as PM.— With PTI input

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