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Nepal’s Oli wins two-thirds majority in floor test with Madhesi backing

Madhes-based Rastriya Janata Party Nepal and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, which have 17 and 16 seats respectively, are likely to join the government and have been bargaining for the posts of vice president and deputy speaker.

world Updated: Mar 11, 2018 19:56 IST
Anil Giri
Anil Giri
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Nepal politics,KP Oli,Rastriya Janata Party
The Madhesi parties’ support to K P Oli (in picture) came as a surprise to many, given their past acrimony.(AFP File)

Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Oli sailed through a vote of confidence on Sunday with two-thirds majority, the first such feat for a ruling alliance since the restoration of democracy, with support from two Madhesi parties.

Having gained the backing of Madhes-based Rastriya Janata Party Nepal and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, the ruling Left Alliance of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) now has a clear majority in the 275-seat parliament. Out of the 268 votes cast, Oli received 208, while 60 legislators opposed the motion.

The floor test assumes significance as all major posts such as president, vice president, prime minister, speaker and deputy speaker will go to the ruling parties.

Rastriya Janata Party Nepal and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, which have 17 and 16 seats respectively in the House, are likely to join the government and have been bargaining for the posts of vice president and deputy speaker.

Their support to Oli came as a surprise to many, given their past acrimony. Oli was considered an “anti-Madhesi” leader. He had often lashed out in public against Madhesi leaders and never tried to hear their demands such as amending the Constitution.

Opposition Nepali Congress alleged that Oli was trying to become an “authoritarian” ruler. “We cannot understand the intent behind the two-thirds majority when he is sitting in comfortable majority,” said NC leader Gagan Thapa.

“Isn’t he wanting to become an authoritarian ruler with two-third votes?” he asked.

“We have seen monarchs in the past that used to exercise such political power, met political accidents and were stripped from powers,” he said.

But replying to the fear of NC, the prime minister said, “I am becoming the PM of the country, not of one or two political parties. The vote is for well-being of the nation, not for its misuse or snobbishness. I will fulfil the promises I made here.”

First Published: Mar 11, 2018 19:51 IST