The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre withdrew its support from the nine-month-old K P Oli government with party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ making every effort to gather outside support to form a new government under his leadership.
The parting trigger was pressed Tuesday morning after Dahal dispatched two senior party leaders — Hitraj Pande and Janardan Sharma — as emissaries with a signed letter that said the support had been withdrawn, and ministers from his party recalled, with immediate effect.
Dahal apparently took this step, something he tried and backed off at the last moment in April, after Nepali Congress, the largest party in the House with an effective strength of 598, agreed to back him as the PM candidate under a coalition arrangement.
Oli’s attempt to reconcile with Dahal and his party at the last minute did not work as the Maoists, as listed in Dahal’s letter, insisted that the current government had failed to execute the post-earthquake reconstruction plan, address grievances of Madhesis, handle the remaining agenda of the peace process, setting up transitional justice system and execute the constitution effectively.
Though Prime Minister Oli insisted he was ready to “face the Parliament”, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) standing committee meeting will be formulating the way to respond to the situation. His options, however, seem limited to either bowing out right away, or facing a confidence vote in Parliament, which he is almost certain to lose as the Maoists (83), Nepali Congress (207) and the Madhes groups (39) seem to have made their minds to vote-out the government. The Madhesi groups, however, are not yet certain about joining the new government.
The break in the political deadlock was brought on Tuesday by Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba who gave in writing to the Maoist party that Congress would be supporting the move to have a new government formed under Dahal — implying it will not stake claim to the government, despite being the largest party in Parliament.
There are speculations that the two have already come to an agreement about number of representation and portfolios in the new government.
Oli and Dahal had signed a nine-point agreement in April that envisaged withdrawal of all kind of criminal cases of insurgency period pending against Maoist leaders, among other things. Dahal also complained that Oli refused to acknowledge or act as per the “gentlemen’s agreement” to hand over the leadership of the government to the latter after the Parliament endorses the new budget.
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