All eyes on Nepal President as ruling party, opposition stake claims to form government
Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari

Kathmandu (Nepal)

Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has initiated consultation with legal experts and spin doctors to appoint a new Prime Minister as both the ruling party and the opposition have staked their claims for the post.

President Bhandari started the consultations from Friday late afternoon as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Sher Bahadur Deuba, the fore-runner of the premiership for a coalition of opposition parties, have put forward their claims of obtaining a majority in the house.

After holding rounds of discussions at Deuba residence on Friday morning, the opposition alliance with a total of 149 lawmakers staked the claim for the post of the Prime Minister before the deadline of 5 pm (local time) that was fixed a day earlier.

The opposition alliance registered their claim with President Bhandari on Friday late afternoon, an opposition leader confirmed to ANI.

"We have submitted a total of 149 signatures of lawmakers on our support to the President," Ram Chandra Paudel, a senior leader of Nepali Congress confirmed to ANI over the phone.

The alliance of opposition parties consisting of Nepali Congress, the rival faction of ruling CPN-UML, the Yadav faction of Janata Samajbadi Party and the Maoist Centre have submitted the name of Sher Bahadur Deuba as a candidate for Prime Minister's post.

"As many as 61 MPs from Nepali Congress, 48 from Maoist Centre, 13 of Janata Samajbadi Party and 27 from CPN-UML have signed in support of Deuba," Gagan Thapa, another leader from opposition Nepali Congress confirmed over the phone.

President Bhandari on Thursday had asked the lawmakers to stake the claim for premiership by 5 pm on Friday.

Alongside the opposition alliance, Prime Minister Oli has also submitted his claim for the post with the President where he has claimed to get majority.

Taking to Twitter, Bishnu Rimal, Chief Advisor to Oli said: "Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has claimed the post of Prime Minister in accordance with Article 76 (5) of the Constitution." "The demand letter has been signed by Chairman Mahanta Thakur and parliamentary party leader Rajendra Mahato and UML chairman and party leader KP Sharma Oli on behalf of the party," he added.

According to Rimal, 121 lawmakers from the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and 32 lawmakers from the Janata Samajbadi Party have signed in support of Oli.

After losing a trust vote on May 10, Oli was re-appointed as Prime Minister under Article 76 (3) as leader of the party with the highest number of members in the lower house. Such a Prime Minister is required to seek a vote of confidence in parliament within one month of the appointment as per Article 76(4) of the Constitution.

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