‘Nepali Congress chief Deuba to form small Cabinet’

Kathmandu, Jul 13:  Nepal’s Opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba is set to form a small Cabinet on Tuesday, a day after the Supreme Court directed President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint the Nepali Congress chief as the country’s new prime minister.

According to a Nepali Congress (NC) leader, 74-year-old Deuba will form a small Cabinet comprising the NC and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) representatives among others on Tuesday afternoon, when he takes the oath of office and secrecy from President Bhandari.

In the first phase, some five- to seven-member Cabinet will be formed under the leadership of Deuba, senior leader of CPN-Maoist Centre Ganesh Shah told PTI.

Later, the Upendra Yadav-led faction of the Janata Samajwadi Party will join the government, he indicated.

Deuba is required to seek a vote of confidence from the House within 30 days of his appointment as the Prime Minister, as per the constitutional provisions.

It is not certain whether the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) will join the Deuba government.

With the Madhav Kumar Nepal faction of the CPN-UML deciding to sever ties with the Opposition alliance, Deuba may face a tough time winning the vote of confidence, sources said.

Last month, 23 CPN-UML lawmakers led by dissident leader Madhav Kumar had backed Deuba as prime minister and even provided signatures to his petition against the House dissolution.

The Supreme Court on Monday overturned Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s May 21 decision to dissolve the House of Representatives and ordered the appointment of Deuba as prime minister.

The five-member Constitutional Bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana said that Oli’s claim to the post of prime minister was unconstitutional.

Reinstating the House yet again — the court had restored the House earlier on February 23 after Oli dissolved it on December 20 — the bench has ordered to make arrangements for holding the House meeting by 5 PM on July 18.

In its order, the constitutional bench said President Bhandari’s decision to reject Deuba’s claim to form a new government was unconstitutional.

Although the apex court’s order has paved the way for Deuba to become a new prime minister, for now, Deuba will have to secure majority votes in Parliament to survive as the prime minister for the remaining term of the 275-member House.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Oli called on President Bhandari at her official residence Sheetal Niwas on Monday after the apex court rendered their move to dissolve the House of Representatives, unconstitutional. (PTI)