Nepal PM Prachanda steps down, Nepali Congress to form govt
The Nepali Congress and Prachanda’s Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre had reached an agreement on the change of prime minister before forming a coalition government in August last year.world Updated: May 24, 2017 19:37 IST
Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” resigned on Wednesday, paving the way for Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba to assume the post in line with an agreement between the two leaders last year.
Prachanda, 62, who led a decade-long insurgency before entering politics, announced his resignation during a televised address to the nation from his office. The move, he said, would end what he called a “drought of trust in Nepali politics”.
The Nepali Congress and Prachanda’s Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre had reached an agreement on the change of prime minister before forming a coalition government in August last year.
“I have made a vow to end a long drought of morality in Nepali politics,” Prachanda said, highlighting the achievements of his government that was in office for 10 months.
There were several examples in Nepal’s politics of leaders never keeping their promises about a transfer of power, he said while raising the issue of morality in politics. “But today I am going to set an example and as per the accord reached with the Nepali Congress, I am going to announce my resignation,” he added.
After his address, Prachanda went to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and handed over his resignation.
After approving the resignation, Bhandari will call on political parties to form a new government on the basis of two-thirds majority, according to the constitutional process. The president will set a deadline of seven days for the parties to install a new government.
If the parties fail or the prime ministerial candidates fail to garner two-thirds of the votes, the president will call for the formation of a government on the basis of majority votes.
Deuba will contest for the post of prime minister on the basis of majority votes with the support of CPN-Maoist Centre.
The new government will hold the second round of polls to local government bodies on June 14. According to last year’s pact, the Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre were to run the government on a rotational basis until elections to the Parliament are held in February 2018.
Referring to the achievements of his government, Prachanda listed the balancing of ties with India and China, ending power outages and good beginnings in economy, health, infrastructure and education.
This was Prachanda’s second stint as the premier and he was elected to the office after he forged an alliance with the Nepali Congress in August last year. He became prime minister for the first time in August 2008, after his party emerged as the largest entity in the Constituent Assembly elections.
After then President Ram Baran Yadav turned down a Cabinet decision to remove the army chief Gen Rookmangud Katawal, Dahal resigned from the top post of May 4, 2009.
Prachanda deferred his resignation after the main opposition CPN-UML obstructed proceedings in Parliament on Tuesday. The Opposition members opposed the government’s move to increase of number of local administrative units in the Terai region, calling it a violation of the election code of conduct.
The units were increased to address the grievances of Madhes-based parties and to ensure their participation in the second phase of local polls.
Nepal held the first phase of local elections on May 14 in three provinces, mostly in the hills, where the CPM-UML is reportedly ahead.