Wednesday, 8 December, 2021

Nation Towards Stability

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba Sunday won the vote of confidence in the House of Representatives (HoR). Deuba, who is the President of Nepali Congress (NC), received 165 votes in the 271-member Lower House of the Federal Parliament. Of the 249 lawmakers who were present in the crucial meeting of the HoR, 83 voted against Deuba while one remained neutral. On July 12, the Supreme Court issued a mandamus, ordering the Office of President to appoint Deuba, 75, as new PM as per Article 76 (5) of the constitution. The new PM chose to get the vote of trust on the first day of the HoR session after it was reinstated through the SC’s historic verdict. On May 21, he had presented the signatures of 149 lawmakers, including 23 from the CPN-UML's Nepal-Khanal faction, claiming to form a government under Article 76 (5) after the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli failed to secure the vote of trust in the House.

The HoR that was reinstated for the second time by the apex court within five months has 121 lawmakers representing the CPN-UML, and 61, 48 and 32 from NC, the Maoist Centre and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP), respectively in addition to the representation from some other fringe parties. As the SC's verdict has interpreted that the lawmakers are not subject to the whip of their parties and are free to extend their support to other parties to form the government as per Article 76 (5). This is a unique provision which seeks to preclude the executive head from dissolving the parliament at whim so that it will complete its full five-year term. Only the government formed under this Article can recommend to the President for dissolution of the House in case it fails to secure a vote of confidence.

With the winning of the vote of trust by Prime Minister Deuba, his government is going to remain in office for the next one and a half years. This has effectively prevented the mid-term elections, enabling the country to ensure stability and institutionalise hard-earned federal republican system. Meanwhile, seeking the vote of confidence in the House, Prime Minister Deuba called on the political parties to join hands with the government for tackling the common problems like poverty, unemployment and illiteracy facing the nation. He said that it was necessary for all the parties to make concerted efforts to deal with the challenges of safeguarding the national independence, sovereignty, geographical integrity, dignity, and battling COVID-19.

Deuba also reiterated his pledge to vaccinate all the citizens against the pandemic within this year. He added: “We have some common responsibilities like protecting the constitution and implementing it effectively, and meeting the aspirations of durable peace, good governance, development and prosperity through the institutionalisation of the federal democratic republic.” CPN-Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda said that the lawmakers were free to exercise their prerogatives to save parliament in line with Article 76 (5). Similarly, JSP leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai said that the demise of the constitution was prevented due to the SC’s intervention. The government must be able to combat the pandemic, ensure stability and revive the battered economy.