After the 68-year-old leader of the CPN Maoist Center took oath, Pushpa Kamal Prachanda addressed Parliament with his speech entitled “The lotus bloom is overwhelming”. In it, he emphasized the importance of promoting politics of consensus, cooperation, and mutual trust instead of negativity, disrespect, and revenge.
While it may have been unclear to some what these words meant in practice, the presentation of the majority in Nepal’s Parliament provided clarity. For the first time in a democratic country, Parliament appeared completely unopposed as Prachanda sought to prove his majority. Despite requiring 138 votes in Nepal’s 275-member House of Representatives, Prachanda received an impressive 268 votes, with only two members voting against him.
How did Prachanda reach his position as Prime Minister?
The Parliament of Nepal comprises of 275 seats with 138 seats needed to form the government. In the recent elections, the Nepali Congress alliance secured 136 seats in the House of Representatives. Following them, former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s party, the Nepal Communist Marxists, succeeded in capturing 104 seats.
Pushpa Kamal Prachanda’s party, the CPN-Maoist Center, won 32 seats and was the third contender for Prime Minister’s post. It was decided that Prachanda and Deuba would form the government together.
Despite both leaders initially agreeing on a two-and-a-half-year term, they were both eager to become the first prime minister. A week before taking oath as Prime Minister, Prachanda approached Deuba and sought his support for the post of Prime Minister.
As the largest party, Deuba was steadfast in his desire to become prime minister first. It was then that Prachanda switched sides and joined KP Sharma Oli to become the Prime Minister.
Political instability in Nepal’s Parliament
Following his alliance with Oli, Deuba was expected to vote against Prakhand but ultimately all 89 members of the Nepali Congress voted for Prachanda, leading to nervousness from Oli, as his speech suggests that Deuba’s initial hope has not been fulfilled.
However, the lust for power still burns on all three sides, with analysts predicting that Deuba may have made a second mistake by first angering Prakhand and then supporting him, causing political instability within the Nepali Parliament.
On the other hand, KP Sharma Oli is concerned that after the end of his two-and-a-half-year term, he may lose support and Deuba will join forces with him or do the same to him as he did earlier.
India’s involvement in the Nepali Congress’s support for Prachanda
The Nepali Congress’s support for Prachanda is seen as inexplicable by some analysts, but some believe that India’s interest in retaining Deuba in the government may have swayed his decision to support Prachanda. Deuba may seek the post of President or Speaker of the House of Representatives in his government, but it won’t be easy.
The Nepali Congress joint secretary Mahendra Yadav hinted at the party’s decision to support the government but not join it, raising further questions on the stability of the Nepali government.