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What if Nepali Congress’ efforts to form government fail?

A look at the options that the country has

2021 May 12, 14:14, Kathmandu
This undated image shows the lawmakers attending the meering of the House f Representatives at Federal Parliament building in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu. Photo courtsy: Federal Paliament

After Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli lost the vote of confidence in the Parliament on Monday, it opened the doors for a new government to be formed in Nepal.

Subsequently, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Monday evening itself called on the members of the House of Representatives (HoR) to form a government with the support of two or more parties by May 13. The president made this call as per Article 76 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal.

In fact, after PM Oli lost the vote of confidence, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and Chairperson of Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal Upendra Yadav had issued a statement urging President Bhandari to call for the formation of a majority government as per Article 76 (2) of the Constitution.

At present, CPN-UML has 121 parliamentarians, NC 63 (two suspended), CPN-MC 49 (four suspended), JSP 34 (two suspended), and the Rastriya Janamorcha, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party have one each. There is also one independent parliamentarian.

Informal talks between the opposition parties to form a government are ongoing.

The Nepali Congress has taken the initiative to claim for the post of the prime minister and a meeting of its office-bearers and former office-bearers held at President Deuba’s residence in Budhanilkantha on Tuesday decided to make all-out efforts to form a new government as per Article 76 (2) of the Constitution.

NC Joint General-Secretary Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat shared that the meeting had also decided to make efforts to secure the full support of Janata Samajwadi Party for the new government while the CPN Maoist Centre has lent its support for the same.

But the question remains as to what if a government cannot be formed under Article 76 (2) of the Constitution.

While speaking to NepalNews, Dr Bhimarjun Acharya, a constitutional expert, mentioned that if the present exercise started by Nepali Congress to form a government fails then Article 76 (3) of the Constitution will have to be enacted.

He explained that if two or more parties cannot forge an alliance to form a government under Article 76 (2), then the president can appoint the leader of the largest party in the Parliament as the prime minister.

At present, CPN UML is the largest party in the Parliament and if this option has to be selected then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is the parliamentary leader of CPN UML, could again be appointed as prime minister, said Acharya.

“However, what has to be noted is that the prime minister appointed through Article 76 (3) also has to win the vote of confidence of the House within 30 days of the date of appointment,” he clarified.

If a government cannot be formed through Article 76 (3) of the Constitution then the third option would be to implement Article 76 (5), Acharya informed. “As per Article 76 (5), the president can appoint any member of parliament if the member presents sufficient ground that he or she can win the vote of confidence in the Parliament,” he added.

“But if the prime minister appointed under Article 76 (5) cannot win the vote of confidence within the stipulated time then the president can dissolve the House of Representatives on the recommendation of the prime minister,” Acharya said.

He mentioned then the only option will be for the president to fix a date so that election to the next House of Representatives can be completed within six months.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli President Bidhya Devi Bhandari New government in Nepal Constitution of Nepal vote of confidence
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