Nepal’s Deuba And Oli ‘Strike Deal To Oust Prachanda, Share Power In New Consensus Govt’

The two largest parties in Nepal – Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) – have signed a deal to form a new ‘national consensus government’ in the politically fragile country and oust Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, PTI quoted media reports as saying on Tuesday.

The agreement was reportedly signed at midnight on Monday by Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) chairman and former Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli. It is expected to be made public on Tuesday, MyRepublica reported, according to PTI.

On Saturday, Deuba, 78 and Oli, 72, met to lay the ground for a potential political alliance between the two parties, following which the CPN-UML ended its association with the Prachanda government, barely four months after extending support to it, The Kathmandu Post reported.

Oli is said to have been unhappy with the recent budget allocations made by the government for the fiscal year 2024-25, an issue he publicly addressed.

Nepal has had 13 governments in the last 16 years.

The Nepali Congress has 89 seats in the 275-member House of Representatives or ‘Pratinidhi Sabha’, whereas CPN-UML and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) of Prachanda have 78 and 32 seats, respectively. The last election to the House was held in 2022.

Prachanda, 69, has taken three votes of confidence in Parliament during his one-and-a-half-year term, and won all.

Referring to the Deuba-Oli agreement, the secretary of CPN Maoist Centre told PTI that the Prime Minister has said he would rather face a vote of confidence in Parliament than resign from the post.

What The Agreement Includes

Deuba and Oli have tentatively agreed to form a new government, amend the Constitution, and work out a power-sharing formula, which they reportedly shared with a few confidants, the Kathmandu Post report said, based on comments from multiple senior leaders in both parties.

Under the agreement, Oli will lead a new ‘national consensus government’ for a year and a half as prime minister, while Deuba will hold the post for the remaining term, the report quoted a Nepali Congress leader as saying.

According to the agreement, the CPN-UML will reportedly lead provincial governments in three of Nepal’s seven provinces – Koshi, Lumbini and Karnali – while the Nepali Congress will lead Bagmati, Gandaki and Sudurpaschim.

Madhes-based parties, meanwhile, will lead the Madhesh province.

The draft agreement was prepared by a four-member task force, the report said, according to PTI.

The agreement, a task force member was quoted as saying, will “detail the power-sharing arrangement, propose amendments to the constitution, review the electoral system, including proportional representation, change national assembly arrangements, and discuss the size of provincial assemblies”.

The deal will be made public by Tuesday, and Oli will stake claim to the post of prime minister later in the day, a CPN-UML minister said, as quoted by PTI.

Following Deuba and Oli’s interactions, Prachanda met the latter to assure him that the government is serious about addressing issues raised by the CPN-UML, including about the new budget, the PTI quoted “observers” as saying.

During their meeting on Monday morning, Oli reportedly requested Prachanda to support him by stepping down. Prachanda offered Oli the post of prime minister within the current ruling coalition, which the latter turned down, expressing his desire to lead a consensus government, a CPN-UML leader was quoted as saying.

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