Nepal govt loses strength as small party withdraws support

The Party with five seats in Constituent Assembly withdrew support from govt.

Updated: Jun 13, 2010, 14:11 PM IST

Kathmandu: In a blow to Nepal`s Madhav Kumar-led government, a small party having five elected representatives has withdrawn its support from the ruling coalition reducing its strength to 313 in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP) with its five seats in the Constituent Assembly withdrew its support from the government, blaming it for failing to implement the 18-point commitment reached with it at the time of the formation of the coalition last year.

NWPP chairman Narayanman Bijuckchhe said it was "meaningless" to give continuity to the government as it had failed to meet expectations on all fronts.

Although it is not part of the cabinet headed by Nepal, the small moderate leftist party has been supporting the ruling alliance.

With the NWPP`s withdrawal of support, government`s strength has been reduced to 313 in the 601 member CA, where the alliance led by the Unified CPN-Maoist has the support of 275 representatives.

The Maoists` actual strength is 237 and the remaining are their allies including the Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum which has 25 members.

Eleven members representing smaller parties are not supporting any bloc, and there are two vacant seats once represented by Maoist lawmakers who have been stripped off their membership for leaving the party.

NWPP had put forth demands including tackling corruption, controlling market price, ending load shedding, and conducting local body elections, among others.

As disenchantment grows over the performance of the government, Unified CPN-Maoist spokesman Dinanath Sharma claimed that some dissatisfied Madhesi parties might also be considering withdrawing support.

He said the party was open to discussing a consensus candidate to lead the government if other parties agreed for a Maoist-led coalition, though as of now, "we are in favour of party chief Prachanda as the Prime Minister`s candidate".

Sharma said the party`s politburo meeting scheduled for June 15 will take a decision regarding the leadership of the government and the future strategies of the party.

Madhesi People`s Rights Forum President Upendra Yadav meanwhile said that he believes the present government will soon be replaced by a new one as it has failed to deliver.

The new budget will have to be passed by next month -- mid July -- and before that a new government will have to be formed, he speculated.

The Legislative Parliament could not be convened for approving the budget due to the Maoists` opposition.