Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has intensified negotiations with other parties to secure the required majority votes ahead of a vote of confidence in Parliament next week.
The Prachanda-led coalition government requires at least 138 votes in the 275-member House of Representatives to survive the vote of confidence. Mr. ‘Prachanda’ claims that he has the support of 169 lawmakers.
Mr. ‘Prachanda’ on Wednesday held a meeting with former premier and CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal to seek his support. The Madhav Nepal-led party has 10 seats in the House of Representatives (HoR).
During the meeting held at the Maoist Centre’s Parliamentary Party office in Singha Durbar, Mr. ‘Prachanda’ proposed to work together in the new government, MyRepublica newspaper reported on Thursday.
The Prime Minister requested the CPN (Unified Socialist) leader to cast votes in his favour during the confidence motion, the newspaper reported, citing Mr. Dahal's Personal Secretary Ramesh Malla.
However, Mr. Madhav Nepal did not give any words to the Prime Minister about his party's support to the new government.
The CPN (Unified Socialist) leader earlier on Wednesday said his party is not in a hurry to join the Prachanda-led coalition government.
He said that his party will take the decision on January 10 after looking at the policies and programmes of the government and the activities of the political parties that are part of the government.
Mr. ‘Prachanda’ was appointed as the new Prime Minister with the support of 169 parliamentarians including UML, Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Janta Samajwadi Party (JSP), Janamat Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party and three independent lawmakers.
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According to the existing constitutional provision in Nepal, a Prime Minister appointed under Article 76(2) needs to secure a vote of confidence from the Parliament within 30 days of the appointment.
As of Wednesday, there was no certainty whether the RPP and JSP would support Mr. Dahal during the trust vote in parliament on January 10. While JSP has said that it will join the government only if the party is given a dignified position in the government, RPP has also announced to support the Dahal-led government only after seeing the government's Common Minimum Program (CMP).
While the UML has a total 79 members including one independent lawmaker joining the party, the Maoist Center has 32 members in the Parliament. Similarly, RSP-led by Rabi Lamichhane has 20 seats and Janamat Party-led by CK Raut has six members. This will bring a total 137 members to Mr. Dahal during the trust vote.
Although two independent lawmakers are set to support Mr. ‘Prachanda’ during the vote of confidence, Prime Minister Dahal wants to make sure that he has a comfortable majority in Parliament.
As such, Prime Minister Prachanda has been simultaneously holding talks with JSP, which has 12 members, and RPP, which has 14 members in parliament.
Nagarik Unmukti Party, which has four members in the House, has threatened to not support Mr. Dahal if Resham Chaudhary, who is an advisor to the party, is not released from jail. Sources said the Prime Minister has planned to appoint five Deputy Prime Ministers in his Cabinet to bring JSP and RPP onboard the government. While there are already three Deputy Prime Ministers in his cabinet, Prime Minister Prachanda plans to appoint two more deputy Prime Ministers to secure support of RPP and JSP.
Keeping in view of the position of RPP and other parties that they will take a decision whether to support the government only after seeing the Common Minimum Program (CMP) of the government, the Prime Minister held a meeting with the top leaders of UML and RSP to finalise the CMP at the earliest possible date.
According to Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane, the coalition partners have decided to finalise the CMP by Thursday.
Top leaders of the ruling parties had held discussions in detail about the contents to be incorporated in the document.
"We also held discussions on the latest political development and works of the government," Mr. Lamichhane said after the meeting of the ruling parties at the prime minister’s official residence in Baluwatar on Wednesday evening.