Nepal PM 'Prachanda' should resign immediately, demands former ally CPN-UML

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Kathmandu, Jul 7 (PTI) Nepal's embattled Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' should resign immediately and pave the way for formation of a national consensus government, former coalition partner Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) said on Sunday.

The CPN-UML demand came as Prime Minister Prachanda is preparing to face a vote of confidence in the Parliament on July 12 in view of 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 parliamentary party meeting of the CPN-UML led by chairman KP Sharma Oli at the Federal Parliament building on Sunday asked Prime Minister Prachanda to resign promptly and facilitate the formation of a new government, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.

"The government finds itself in a clear minority after various parties, including the UML, withdrew their support," said UML’s Chief Whip Mahesh Bartaula.

"However, he has not stepped down, which is seen as unfair. Therefore, the meeting has requested that the prime minister resign immediately and pave the way for forming a national consensus government," he was quoted as saying by he newspaper.

The CPN-UML, the largest party in the ruling coalition, withdrew support to Prachanda-led government last week after inking a power-sharing deal with the largest party - Nepali Congress - to oust the former guerrilla leader.

Days later, three ministers from another ally - Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) - on Friday withdrew support to 'Prachanda'. The JSP has six more members in the House of Representatives (HoR).

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.

In a letter addressed to the federal parliament on Friday, Prachanda said that after one of the members of the ruling alliance withdrew the support to the government, he will seek a vote of confidence on July 12 under Article 100 (2) of the constitution of Nepal.

Prachanda requires 138 votes for the government to win the vote of confidence in the House.

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