CPN-UML Secretary Bhim Acharya has become chief minister (CM) of Province 1 Thursday.
Province 1 Governor Somnath Adhikari (Pyasi|) administered oath of office and secrecy to Acharya after being unanimously elected UML parliamentary party leader earlier on the day.
Sher Dhan Rai resigned as parliamentary party leader of UML and then proposed to elect Acharya the new parliamentary party leader. Rai then resigned as the CM to pave the way for Acharya to become the new CM in capacity of the parliamentary party leader of the largest party in the provincial assembly in accordance to Article 168(1) of the Constitution.
"I have resigned to save party unity. We have brought Acharya forward as the future CM," Rai said after resigning as leader in the parliamentary party meeting.
Acharya, who has been close to Madhav Kumar Nepal for years and lost the election for UML parliamentary party leader to Rai, has recently changed allegiance to Chairman KP Sharma Oli and has not joined the new party registered on Wednesday.
Bal Bahadur Samsohang, Hom Kumari Sawa, Jeevan Ghimire, Laxman Tiwari, Leela Ballabh Adhikari and Sabitri Joshi—who were with the Khanal-Nepal faction—have also pledged allegiance to Oli and have decided to remain in UML along with Acharya.
The Khanal-Nepal faction has been claiming it has support of 15 lawmakers even without Acharya. Acharya has been made CM by Oli after claiming that he will be able to keep a large number of lawmakers from the dissident faction in UML.
How long he will serve as CM will depend on the number of lawmakers the new Nepal-led party can bring from UML.
UML had won 51 seats in the provincial assembly but one of the lawmakers is speaker and another lawmaker is suspended. Nepali Congress has 21 lawmakers, CPN (Maoist Center) 15 including deputy speaker, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) three and RPP and Federal Democratic Forum one each.
Acharya will need support of 47 lawmakers if the opposition alliance brings no-confidence motion.
The new party led by Nepal claims that it still has enough lawmakers to form government in alliance with NC, Maoist Center and JSP.
Oli had offered the post of CM to Acharya like he did to Ashta Laxmi Shakya who was made Bagmati CM for abandoning the Khanal-Nepal camp. But Acharya did not accept the offer outright and met Nepal on Saturday to seek the latter's support to become CM. Nepal refused to support him.
He has accepted the offer and become CM after the Election Commission on Wednesday issued registration certificate to the new party led by Nepal.