On Monday, just hours after the Supreme Court overturned K P Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives, reinstating the House and issuing a mandamus order to President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint opposition alliance leader Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, a key opposition alliance leader, declared that he will not participate in the election.
Madhav Kumar Nepal played a key role in forming the opposition coalition to oppose the Oli-led administration. Before parliament was dissolved on May 21, over 20 MPs from his CPN-UML party signed a petition to President Bhandari requesting Deuba’s appointment as Prime Minister.
In addition, Madhav Nepal faction leaders signed a petition to the Supreme Court on May 24 demanding the return of parliament and Deuba’s nomination as prime minister.
Madhav Nepal is one of the petition’s signatories. Now, the same leader has vowed that the opposition alliance will be severed.
According to legal experts and political observers, this will have an impact on the administration that will be established under Deuba’s leadership, as well as create moral and legal concerns on Madhav Nepal’s part.
By reinstalling parliament and granting orders to reinstate Deuba as prime minister, the Court has addressed the desire of opposition leaders such as Nepal. Legal experts warn that refusing to support Deuba now amounts to refusing to acknowledge the court’s decision and even disrespecting the court.
According to Senior Advocate Harihar Dahal, the Madhav Nepal faction will confront a moral question if it refuses to offer Sher Bahadur Deuba a vote of confidence since he did not accept the court’s ruling. “The Nepal faction has signed a letter to the President demanding that Sher Bahadur Deuba be chosen Prime Minister in accordance with Article 76 of the Constitution (5). According to Dahal, the faction has also signed writ petitions filed with the Supreme Court. “It will be a disrespect to the court’s verdict if the faction does not support Sher Bahadur Deuba in a floor test,” he remarked.
He went on to say that the Madhav Nepal side “must” back Deuba, and that if they don’t, questions will be made against them.
Sher Bahadur Deuba would have to secure a vote of confidence from parliament within 30 days of his inauguration, according to the constitution.
Sher Bahadur Deuba, a Congress politician, was already named Prime Minister earlier today.
To win a confidence vote, Deuba will need the backing of 136 MPs. After the Madhav Nepal faction (which has 23 votes) leaves the opposition alliance, the opposition alliance will only have 123 votes. Deuba will only be able to win a confidence vote if the Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal (JSPNMahantha )’s Thakur-Rajendra Mahato group stands ready to vote for him, which is doubtful.
In such situation, Deuba’s government will face a confidence crisis a month after taking office, which will be directly caused by the Madhav Nepal faction’s lack of support. In that event, Madhav Nepal will be remembered as a leader who helped to destabilize a government led by his own party, who backed the opposition leader to become Prime Minister but then abandoned him as well.
“While this presents a moral question for Madhav Kumar Nepal and his associates, the court ruling does not compel them to remain in the opposition alliance and vote for Deuba in the confidence vote,” said constitutional analyst and pundit Bipin Adhikari. “It would have been a different matter if the verdict had clearly said that the party cannot impose a whip on the petition signatories,” he said.
Madhav Nepal and MPs loyal to him, according to him, can abstain from voting, vote for Deuba, or vote against Deuba. “It’s a parliamentary procedure,” says the speaker. They have the option of voting for or against Deuba in the confidence vote.”
Political analyst Hari Roka, on the other hand, believes the Madhav Nepal camp will back Deuba in his floor test.
“It would be immoral on the part of the Nepal group not to provide a confidence vote to Deuba, who is the Prime Minister today primarily because of the Madhav Nepal faction’s support,” Roka added.
“The faction will rally behind Deuba. The Nepalese faction’s departure from the alliance does not imply that they will oppose Deuba. We must recognize that Deuba is becoming Prime Minister thanks to the backing of 26 Nepal faction lawmakers,” he continued.