Kathmandu: Nepal`s opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba is set to be sworn in as the new Prime Minister of the Himalayan Nation for the fifth time, as per the Supreme Court judgment which was pronounced on Monday. The apex court in its verdict ordered President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to appoint Deuba as the successor of now caretaker Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
Sources from President`s Office told ANI that preparations for the oath-taking ceremony are underway. However, the time for the event will be announced shortly. “New Prime Minister will be sworn in before the deadline set by the court. Letter of mandamus from the apex court also has reached President Office,” they said.
Although the top court order has paved the way for Deuba to become the new prime minister, for now, Deuba will have to secure majority votes to survive as PM for the remaining term of the parliament. However, Deuba is short of a majority as the rival faction of CPN-UML has backed off. After months of the intraparty rift, the rival faction of ruling CPN-UML under the leadership of Madhav Kumar Nepal has separated itself from the alliance formed to fight against caretaker PM Oli.
The two factions in the UML (one led by Oli and the other by Nepal) on Sunday evening have reached a 10-point agreement to bury their hatchet.
After Monday`s verdict, the Nepal faction has announced to unify with the party ending the earlier formed alliance. With the breaking of the rival faction of CPN-UML, the largest seat holder in parliament, the fate of the vote of confidence for to-be-appointed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba remains uncertain.
Deuba will have to secure the vote of confidence in parliament within a month after his appointment as the new prime minister.
A total of 146 members of the House of Representatives (HoR) reached out to Supreme Court with a writ petition to demand the restoration of the house and appoint Sher Bahadur Deuba, as the next prime minister on May 24.
The petitions at that time included a total of 61 members of the House of Representatives from the Nepali Congress, 49 from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), 23 from the Madhav Nepal faction of CPN-UML, 12 from Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai of Janata Samajbadi Party and one from Rashtriya Janamorcha Nepal.
Claiming the prime ministership back in May, Deuba had presented signatures of 149 lawmakers to prove that he commanded the majority to lead a new government. Now Deuba is falling short of 23 votes which he earlier used to have from the Madhav Nepal-led faction of CPN-UML.
Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari had refused to allow Deuba to form a new government as per Article 76 (5) and dissolution of the House. With Oli failing to secure the vote of confidence on May 10, Bhandari on May 13 had appointed Oli prime minister under Article 76 (3) of the constitution as the leader of the party with the highest number of members in the House.
A week after his appointment, Oli on May 20 in a sudden move recommended that the President invoke Article 76 (5) to choose a new prime minister. It`s the President who initiates Article 76 (5) when a prime minister appointed under Article 76 (3) fails the trust vote.
Oli, however, neither sought the trust vote nor resigned, thereby creating a situation in which a prime minister was asking the President to appoint a prime minister.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the judgement of the Supreme Court, supporters of caretaker Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday staged a protest against the order to reinstate the dissolved House of Representatives (HoR). A large number of Oli supporters gathered and shouted slogans against the SC`s verdict.