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Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda to seek fourth vote of confidence on Monday

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By Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, May 17 (PTI) Nepal Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ will seek a vote of confidence in Parliament on May 20, the fourth within 18 months of taking office, days after a coalition partner withdrew its support for his government.

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Prachanda, a former guerilla leader, belongs to the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), the third largest party in the House of Representatives (HoR).

The decision to seek a vote of confidence came after the Upendra Yadav-led Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal on May 13 withdrew its support for the government following a split in the party.

Yadav resigned as deputy prime minister and his party pulled out of the government.

“The Prime Minister is taking the vote of confidence as per Article 100 clause 2 of the Constitution of Nepal,” according to Dasharath Dhamala, assistant spokesperson of the House of Representatives.

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The office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers has already sent a letter informing the Parliament Secretariat regarding the matter, said Dhamala.

The Prime Minister is required to take a vote of confidence within 30 days if the party the Prime Minister is representing splits or if a member of the coalition government withdraws support. The Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) withdrew its support last week while quitting the coalition government.

This will be Prime Minister Prachanda’s fourth vote of confidence within one and a half years after he assumed the top executive position on December 25, 2022.

The new government requires at least 138 votes in the 275-member House of Representatives to win the vote of trust. Monday’s vote of confidence will be the fourth such by Prachanda, 69, since he assumed office in 2022.

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Earlier on March 13, Prime Minister Dahal won his third consecutive vote of confidence.

Last year, Prachanda faced a floor test after former prime minister KP Sharma Oli-led CPN-UML withdrew its support to the Prachanda-led government following a rift over backing the main opposition party’s candidate for the presidential poll.

Prachanda’s support has notably declined in successive confidence votes. In January 2023, he obtained 268 votes, followed by 172 in March of the same year. His support further dwindled to just 157 votes in the third-floor test.

The vote also comes amid the ongoing chaos in the House over the probe into the alleged involvement of Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane in the misappropriation of cooperative funds.

Currently, the ruling coalition holds a majority with 77 seats of the CPN-UML, 32 of the Maoist Centre, 21 of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, seven of the newly formed Janata Samajbadi Party and 10 seats of the CPN-Unified Socialist (CPN-US). PTI SBP NSA AKJ

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