Nepal’s new Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba Sunday comfortably won the vote of confidence in the House of Representatives, ensuring continuity of the twice dissolved lower house of Parliament for the remaining duration.
House Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota read out the results of the vote, in which Deuba received 165 votes while 84 parliamentarians voted against him. While the lower house currently has 271 members, only 249 lawmakers were present for voting as some boycotted the voting and some were absent.
Deuba was supported by his own Nepali Congress, the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist Centre), the Janata Samajbadi Party, as well as some lawmakers from the main opposition Nepal Communist Party-UML whose chair is his predecessor, K.P. Sharma Oli.
The Nepali Congress has 61 seats while the coalition partner Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) has 49 seats. Similarly, the Rastriya Janamorcha, with one seat, also decided to vote for Deuba.
But half of the lawmakers of the Janata Samajbadi Party, which has a total of 32 members, also made a volte-face on Sunday and suddenly decided to vote for Deuba. A faction of the party had earlier supported Oli while half of them remained in the opposition.
After the Supreme Court overturned Oli’s decision to dissolve the house, the party came together and decided to vote for Deuba.
Oli’s own party, Nepal Communist Party-UML remained divided. out of its 127 lawmakers, 22 party lawmakers voted in favor of Deuba and 10 lawmakers were absent.
Deuba was appointed Prime Minister last Tuesday after the Supreme Court overturned Oli’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives on May 21, and reinstated the house.
The Constitution makes it mandatory that a Prime Minister appointed under Article 76(5) secures a vote of confidence within 30 days of appointment.
“I hereby declare that the motion of the vote of confidence tabled by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has been endorsed with a majority,” House Speaker Agni Sapkota announced.
The proposal for the vote of trust was registered in the Parliament Secretariat on Sunday, the very first day of the session of the reinstated lower house.
Previously, Deuba has served as the prime minister on four occasions; first from 1995 to 1997, then from 2001 to 2002, again from 2004 to 2005, and from 2017 to 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Deuba on his success.
“Congratulations Prime Minister @DeubaSherbdr and best wishes for a successful tenure. I look forward to working with you to further enhance our unique partnership in all sectors, and strengthen our deep-rooted people-to-people ties,” PM Modi tweeted.
(With inputs from IANS)