The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) on Sunday decided to withdraw from Nepal’s ruling coalition after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” refused to reinstate the party’s flamboyant chairman Rabi Lamichhane as the Home Minister after he recently re-acquired his citizenship.
The decision was taken after a joint meeting of RSP’s central members and lawmakers.
Mr. Lamichhane (48) was elected from Chitwan-2 constituency during the elections held in November last year.
He subsequently lost the status of a lawmaker following a verdict by Nepal’s Supreme Court on January 27, which stated that the citizenship certificate he produced to contest the parliamentary election was invalid, according to the Kathmandu Post newspaper.
Subsequently, he also lost his ministerial portfolio and the presidency of the party because one needs to be a Nepali citizen to hold those positions, it said.
On January 29, he re-acquired his citizenship, following which he met Prachanda and demanded that he be restored to his former Cabinet position, the report said.
But the Nepal Prime Minister was in no mood to relent, it added.
Mr. Lamichhane was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister on December 26 last year.
The RSP, floated by Lamichhane, won 20 seats in the federal polls, making its fourth largest force in parliament.
Mr. Lamichhane, a former television personality, shot to fame while attempting to set the Guinness world record for hosting the longest-ever marathon talk show in 2013.
During a press conference organised after the joint meeting of RSP’s central committee, Mr. Lamichhane said that in the past, efforts were made to entangle him in several controversies, but he has always managed to steer out of it.
The RSP’s decision to withdraw from the coalition government does not alter Prime Minister Prachanda’s political fortunes.
That’s because even though the RSP has decided to recall their Ministers, they will continue to support this government, the Post report added.
Last month, 'Prachanda' received the support of 268 of the 270 lawmakers who were present in parliament — the highest number of votes a Prime Minister has ever received in a vote of confidence in parliament.