Shankar Pokharel of CPN-UML has again been sworn in as chief minister (CM) of Lumbini Sunday evening after resigning earlier on the day to avoid no-confidence motion.
Pokharel called Governor Dharmanath Prasad Yadav to the CM's Office to administer oath of office and secrecy to him after opposition lawmakers with majority in the provincial assembly picketed the governor's office to stop the swearing-in ceremony.
Governor Yadav administered the oath to Pokharel inside CM's Office with opposition alwmakers shouting slogans outside.
Theprevious government of Pokharel was formed on February 15, 2018 in accordance to Article 168(2) that states 'If no party carries a clear majority in the Provincial Assembly for purpose of Clause (1), the Provincial Head shall appoint as Chief Minister the member of the Provincial Assembly who can attain majority of two or more than two parties represented in the Provincial Assembly.'
CPN-UML and CPN(Maoist Center) had allied for the election with a promise of unification after the election. But the parties were yet to unify as CPN when Pokharel formed what was a coalition government then.
He was reappointed CM by Governor Yadav as per Article 168(1) despite him clearly lacking majority in the provincial assembly.
CPN (Maoist Center) parliamentary party leader Kul Prasad KC earlier staked claims for formation of new government under him submitting signatures of 42 lawmakers of Lumbini to Governor Dharmanath Prasad Yadav on Sunday.
The lawmakers of Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center) and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) went to Governor Yadav to stop swearing in of Pokharel who was reappointed CM earlier on the day after resigning to avoid no-confidence motion.
Governor Yadav, a former UML leader appointed by PM Oli, reappointed Pokharel despite the lawmakers meeting him in the afternoon and requesting him to stop swearing in of Pokharel as CM pointing that he does not have majority in the provincial assembly.
Governor Yadav appointed parliamentary party leader of UML Pokharel as the new CM as per Article 168(1) of the Constitution which states 'The Provincial Head shall appoint the leader of the parliamentary party with majority in the Provincial Assembly as the Chief Minister and the Provincial Council of Ministers shall be formed under the chairpersonship of the Chief Minister.'
Lawmakers of Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center) and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) had registered the no-confidence motion on April 19 proposing Kul Prasad KC of Maoist Center as the next CM. But Pokharel inducted four JSP lawmakers into his Cabinet the same day to try to save his government. The four JSP lawmakers have since been expelled from the assembly by the party.
Pokharel resigned earlier on Sunday before the provincial assembly was scheduled to discuss on the motion. He was then reappointed as CM to form a majority government.
There are 87 seats in the provincial assembly of Lumbini. CPN-UML claims it has 41 lawmakers that is enough for majority in the assembly that is only 81-strong now after Maoist Center expelled two lawmakers who joined UML and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) expelled four lawmakers who joined the Pokharel Cabinet after the no-confidence motion was registered on April 19.
But 42 lawmakers including Dharma Bahadur Lal Srivastav and Ajaya Shahi, who are from the group of Hridayesh Triapthi and Brijesh Kumar Gupta faction respectively and had both won the last election with sun of CPN-UML as the election symbol, have signed supporting KC's claims to become the next CM.
UML had also counted on Bimala Oli, who was elected on ticket of the then CPN formed after unification of CPN-UML and Maoist Center, but she has opted to join Maoist Center and signed on the application submitted to the governor.