With the political parties failing to agree on a consensus Prime Minister by the deadline set by the President, a House committee on Wednesday recommended election for the post on February 10.
A statement by Parliament Secretariat announced the election schedule following recommendation by the Business Advisory Committee of the Parliament. The nominations for the election would be filed on February 8 and 9, with the final list of the candidates announced a day before the election.
So far, only Sushil Koirala, president of the Nepali Congress and its Parliamentary Party leader, has announced his candidacy. He and his party have sought the support of other political parties to this end.
Of the 575 in the 601 seats that were decided by direct and proportional representation (PR) electoral system, the NC got 196 seats, emerging as the largest party. Although some smaller parties have pledged their support to Mr. Koirala’s candidacy, the NC is banking on the CPN-UML to support its prime ministerial candidate.
The UML, a close second to NC in the Parliament, has not yet announced whether it would support Mr. Koirala or field a candidate against him. On Tuesday, K.P. Oli was elected the CPN-UML’s Parliamentary Party leader, defeating party chief, Jhala Nath Khanal.
Mr. Oli has also expressed his desire to lead the next government if the NC failed to do so. The UML has demanded power-sharing with the NC on an equal footing. Among their demands are new election or endorsement (by the Parliament) of the President and the Vice-President. The Nepali Congress has opposed the demand, citing constitutional provisions. Some NC leaders characterised it as a bargaining ploy to get plum Cabinet posts, a charge that the UML denied.
President Ram Baran Yadav, who had set a deadline of February 2 for a consensus Prime Minister as per Article 38(1) of the Interim Constitution, asked the political parties on Tuesday to elect the Prime Minister by majority vote as per Article 38(2) of the statute within a week.
The election for the Constituent Assembly-cum-Parliament was held on November 19 last year. The parties pledged to draft the new Constitution within a year of the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly which met for the first time on January 22. The previous CA, elected in 2008, failed to deliver the Constitution.