Deuba-Oli discuss new govt formation & future course of action ahead of floor test for PM Prachanda

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Sher Bahadur Deuba and K P Sharma Oli

Sher Bahadur Deuba and K P Sharma Oli

Kathmandu: Ahead of a floor test for the embattled Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Friday, leaders of the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have agreed to form a new coalition government after ousting the former guerrilla leader.

K P Sharma Oli-led CPN-UML, the largest party in the ruling coalition, withdrew support for the Prachanda-led government last week after inking a power-sharing deal with the largest party - Nepali Congress - to replace the former Maoist leader, who is expected to lose the confidence vote.

The Nepali Congress, the largest party in the 275-member House of Representatives, has 89 seats at present, while CPN-UML has 78 seats. Their combined strength of 167 is sufficient for a majority of 138 seats in the lower house. Prachanda's party has 32 seats.

Oli, the CPN-UML chairperson, met Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba on Wednesday.

The meeting between the two leaders was aimed at formulating a future strategy on how to move forward after the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) agreed to form a new coalition government.

During the two-hour-long meeting held at Deuba’s residence at Budhanilkantha, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, the two leaders discussed matters such as collecting signatures in favour of the new coalition to be led by Oli and its submission to the president.

They also discussed the formation of the new government and inviting other smaller parties to join the national consensus government being formed under the leadership of Oli, according to sources close to CPN-UML.

The two parties have inked a deal to lead the government turn by turn for the remaining three-year period of the Parliament.

According to the agreement, Oli will become the Prime Minister for one and a half years in the first stage.

Last week, the CPN-UML demanded Prachanda's immediate resignation after the prime minister said that he is preparing to face a vote of confidence in the Parliament on Friday, given the withdrawal of support by some allies.

Prachanda, 69, has announced that he would not quit after the resignation of eight Cabinet ministers belonging to the CPN-UML and instead face a vote of confidence in Parliament.

A new alliance government led by Oli, 72, and backed up by the Nepali Congress will be formed by Sunday, the sources said.

Prachanda, who requires 138 votes for the government to win the vote of confidence in the House, is likely to secure around 63 votes, and the government is almost sure to lose the vote during Friday’s voting.

Nepal has had 13 governments in the last 16 years, indicating the fragile nature of the Himalayan nation's political system.