A phone call from CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli to his Maoist Centre counterpart Pushpa Kamal Dahal, possibly regarding the formation of the new government, caused a hullabaloo as the results of the federal elections were being announced across the nation.
By calling Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday, Oli made it clear that he needed his support and asked Dahal to meet with him to discuss future collaboration.
Many people were surprised to hear the two talking on the phone after they had not spoken to one another since the former Nepal Communist Party was overthrown. The phone rang while Dahal and the Maoist party were considering their options for the future after being upset with how the elections had turned out for the group. A communist coalition is once more on the table as a result of the call.
But in terms of the incoming government, will that actually happen? Alternatively, will the recently founded Rastriya Swatantra Party decide who rules? What will happen to the coalition and Nepali Congress?
Here, we examine three potential equations for the establishment of a government that will alter national politics.
The Nepali Congress is now ahead in eight constituencies and has won 46 as of Saturday morning. Similar to this, the UML has won 38 elections and is in the lead in six.
UML and Nepali Congress are tied in terms of votes cast under proportional representation. If the pattern holds, the UML and Congress will likely hold about 85 and 80 seats overall, respectively.
In the elections, the Maoist Centre will unquestionably be the third party. The Maoist Centre, which ran in the elections and formed a coalition with the Nepali Congress, won 16 constituencies and is in the lead in two more.
The Maoists have received fewer votes than the Rastriya Swatantra Party in the proportional representation category, which implies they are more likely to win 16–17 seats directly and 15–16 seats through the proportional system, giving them about 30–32 seats in the House of Representatives.
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Seven seats were won by Rastriya Swatantra Party directly, and it is expected that it would also gain 16–17 seats via the proportional method. As it has won six seats directly and is in the lead in one, Rastriya Prajatantra Party is expected to finish as the fifth party. Around 8 or 9 seats should be secured under the proportional representation system.
However, given that they have gained 10 and 4 seats, respectively, parties like the CPN-Unified Socialist and Loktantrik Samajbadi are unlikely to reach the need to become a national party. Their proportional voting is also not very good.
These statistics demonstrate that there is a likelihood for the UML and Nepali Congress to create the next administration. But because the Maoist, RPP, and RSP will control the new administration, obtaining the 138-seat majority required by the constitution won’t be simple.
Case 1: The Coalition is in power
With its present alliance of the Maoist Centre, Unified Socialist, Janamorcha, and LSPN, the Nepali Congress hopes to build a new administration.
The NC is predicted to win 85 seats, Maoists 32, Unified Socialist, LSPN, and Janamorcha 10, 4, and 1 seats each, after them. With six fewer seats than required to form a new government, the coalition will now have 132 seats overall. Their only chance is to enlist the aid of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party, and Janata Samajbadi Party.
Since there are so many people engaged, the coalition will have a difficult time sharing the authority among itself even if it does manage to establish a government. Why? Both the Maoist Center and the Nepali Congress will desire that their leader take office as prime minister. The parties will probably propose a shared prime ministership, but it might not be simple.
Maoist Center Chairman Dahal wants to become prime minister before anyone from the Nepali Congress because he does not want to repeat the error he made in his alliance with KP Sharma Oli in the previous term. However, this is not what the Nepali Congress leaders want.
Sher Bahadur Deuba, according to certain Nepali Congress leaders, would agree to this if the alliance decides to elect a Nepali Congress leader as president of the nation.
Given that Gagan Thapa aspires to become the next prime minister and will oppose Deuba for the position of parliamentary party leader, this will not be ideal for Deuba. Biswa Prakash Sharma will assist Thapa. Ram Chandra Paudel, a prominent leader, also desires the position of prime minister.
Scenario 2: A Maoist-led and RPP-led UML government
Around 80 seats in the House of Representatives are projected to go to the UML. Even if the Nepali Congress and coalition do not have enough seats to create a new government as a result of this, it is not good news for the UML, which had set a target of 150.
The UML will still have a chance to form the new government as a result, but it will need assistance from other parties as its coalition with the RPP and JSPN won’t be sufficient. It won’t have enough even if it convinces the RSP to join it to form a government.
Kp oli called Dahal to talk about the situation since he understands that he will need the Maoists’ support. The Maoists were let down by the present alliance’s lack of vote transfer, which has already prompted questions about whether creating a coalition with the Nepali Congress was the right move.
However, even if the Maoist agrees to join, the coalition led by the UML will lack the necessary majority to form a government unless the RPP also agrees to do so.
A Maoist Centre leader claims that while maintaining the current coalition is the party’s top goal, it cannot entirely rule out the idea of working with the UML and RPP to build a new administration.
Scenario 3: A Congress-UML alliance
Even if a new administration of this kind currently sounds like a crazy concept, Nepal has already experienced stranger political events. No additional party will be required if the Nepali Congress and the UML unite to create the new administration.
This has previously also occurred. The UML and Nepali Congress established a coalition government following the collapse of the Dahal-led administration in 2008. After the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, they also established a comparable government.
But at that time, the government was in charge of organizing the constitution-writing process. Since the Nepali Congress and the UML largely agreed on the constitution’s provisions, it seemed appropriate to create a government without the Maoists at the time.
Things have changed since then. Since the UML leaders, including Oli, have consistently advocated for further political polarization from the public platform, it is unlikely that they will join forces with Congress merely to build a new administration.