The ruling coalition formed on Christmas Day has unraveled in two months with the largest party in the coalition CPN-UML deciding to withdraw its support from the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government on Monday.
CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had earlier said that the Christmas Day deal remained valid and Dahal’s CPN (Maoist Center) would also vote for UML candidate in the presidential election scheduled for March 9.
But UML has quit the government on Monday after Prime Minister (PM) Dahal stopped Geneva visit of Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudyal from UML hours before she was scheduled to board the plane Sunday.
Dahal had quit the coalition with NC and Unified Socialist on December 25, 2022 and became prime minister (PM) with support of CPN-UML, Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), RPP, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP), Janamat Party and Nagarik Unmukti Party after Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba refused to make him PM first.
JSP had not participated in the government despite remaining in the coalition. RSP led by Lamichhane had already quit the government after Dahal refused to give the Home Ministry to the party following the Supreme Court verdict ruling Lamichhane ineligible to become lawmaker and consequentially minister. RSP, however, continues to support the government.
RPP decided to withdraw its support for the government on Saturday after NC, Maoist Center, JSP and Unified Socialist agreed to revive the pre-election coalition on Friday and Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP), Janamat Party, Rastriya Janamorcha and Nagarik Unmukti Party decided to join the alliance and support the joint presidential candidate from the grand old party later Friday.
Maoist Center, JSP, Janamat Party, and Nagarik Unmukti Party from the ruling coalition formed on Christmas Day have already decided to join the new coalition.
Dahal will now have to retake the floor test. Article 100(2) of the Constitution states ‘In case the political party, which the Prime Minister represents, is divided or a political party in coalition government withdraws its support, the Prime Minister shall table a motion in the House of Representatives for a vote of confidence within 30 days.’
NC had also voted for the Dahal government during the previous floor test on January 10 sowing the seeds for unravelling of the coalition. The government still will have support of the majority as the strength of NC and Unified Socialist Party more than offsets that of UML and RPP, that withdrew support, but Dahal is required to again pass the floor test as per the Constitution.