President Bidya Devi Bhandari on December 25, 2022 appointed CPN-Maoist Centre chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ as the new Prime Minister of Nepal.
Mr. Prachanda has been appointed as the Prime Minister of Nepal as per the Article 76 Clause 2 of the Constitution, according to a statement issued by the President’s Office here.
The President had called any member of the House of Representatives, who can garner a majority with support from two or more parties as stipulated in the Article 76 clause 2 of the Constitution to submit a claim for the Prime Minister’s post.
Mr. Prachanda, 68, had submitted the claim before the deadline given by the President expired at 5 pm on Sunday.
The swearing in ceremony of the newly-appointed Prime Minister will take place at 4 pm on Monday, according to the President’s Office.
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Mr. Prachanda along with CPN-UML chairman K P Sharma Oli, Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) president Ravi Lamichhane, Rastriya Prajatantra Party chief Rajendra Lingden among other top leaders earlier went to the President’s Office with a proposal to appoint him as the new Prime Minister, sources said.
Mr. Prachanda has support of 165 lawmakers in the 275-member House of Representatives which includes CPN-UML with 78, CPN-MC with 32, RSP with 20, RPP with 14, JSP with 12, Janamat with 6 and Nagarik Unmukti Party with 3.
Mr. Prachanda is being appointed as the Prime Minister of Nepal for the third time.
Born in Dhikurpokhari of Kaski district near Pokhara on December 11, 1954, Prachanda remained underground for almost 13 years. He joined mainstream politics when the CPN-Maoist adopted peaceful politics, ending decade long armed insurgency.
He led the decade-long armed struggle from 1996 to 2006 that ultimately ended with signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006.
Earlier, a crucial meeting was held at former prime minister Oli’s residence where CPN-Maoist Centre and other smaller parties agreed to form a government under the leadership of ‘Prachanda’.
There has been an understanding between Prachanda and Oli to lead the government on rotation basis and Oli agreed to make Prachanda Prime Minister at the first chance as per his demand.
“As the largest party the Nepali Congress failed to form a government under its leadership as per Article 76(2) of the Constitution within the president’s deadline. Now, the CPN-UML has taken the initiative to form the new government under the leadership of Prachanda with the support of 165 lawmakers,” Shankar Pokharel, CPN-UML general secretary, told reporters after the meeting.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Prachanda walked out of the Nepali Congress led five-party alliance after Prime Minister and Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba rejected his bid to become the Prime Minister in the first round.
Mr. Deuba and Mr. Prachanda had earlier reached a tacit understanding to lead the new government on a rotational basis.
During talks with Prachanda on Sunday morning at the PM House, Nepali Congress had staked claim for both the key posts of President and Prime Minister, which Prachanda had rejected resulting in failure of the talks, Maoist sources said.
The NC offered the post of Speaker to the Maoist Party, which was rejected by Mr. Prachanda.
“The alliance has broken as the last-minute talk between Deuba and Prachanda failed to strike a deal,” Shah told PTI earlier in the day.
After talks with Prime Minister Deuba failed, Mr. Prachanda reached the private residence of CPN-UML chairman Oli to seek his support to become the Prime Minister. He was joined by leaders of other smaller parties.
Nepali Congress is the largest party with 89 seats in the House of Representatives while CPN-UML and CPN-MC have 78 and 32 seats, respectively.
No party in the 275-member House of Representatives has 138 seats required to form a government.
In the House, CPN (Unified Socialist) has 10 seats, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP) has four, and Rastriya Janamorcha and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party have one seat each.
There are five independent members in the Lower House.