Sher Bahadur Deuba sworn in as Nepal prime minister, for fifth timeSwearing-in was delayed after controversy over the letter from the Office of the President which failed to mention under which constitutional provision the Congress leader was appointed prime minister.
Sher Bahadur Deuba was sworn in on Tuesday evening as prime minister of Nepal, after hours of delay following controversy over the statement from the Office of the President on the appointment of the Nepali Congress leader.
Earlier in the day, President Bidya Devi Bhandari had appointed Deuba as prime minister, in line with Monday’s Supreme Court verdict.
The oath ceremony was initially scheduled for 6pm, but it was delayed after the Congress party took exception to the Office of the President’s statement that did not mention the constitutional provision under which Deuba was appointed the prime minister.
“President Bidya Devi Bhandari has appointed Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party leader and member of the House of Representative, Sher Bahadur Deuba, as prime minister as per the July 12, 2021 verdict of the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court,” reads the one-sentence statement from the Office of the President.
The letter did not have the issuance date.
Passing a verdict on Oli’s House dissolution on May 21 and President Bhandari’s rejection of Deuba’s claim the same day to the post of prime minister, the Constitutional Bench on Monday ordered restoration of the Parliament and Deuba’s appointment as prime minister as per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution of Nepal.
After the letter controversy, Deuba called Chief Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi and urged him to take up the issue with the Office of the President Office for correcting the statement.
But the Office of the President refused to change it, a Nepali Congress leader said.
After much debate and discussion, the Office of the President agreed to correct the statement mentioning that Deuba was appointed prime minister as per article 76 (5) of the constitution.
At around 8:20pm, President Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Deuba, who has served as prime minister four times in the past, in Sheetal Niwas.
Deuba’s appointment ends KP Sharma Oli’s three-and-a-half-year-long tenure as prime minister.
Deuba now has to secure a vote of confidence in the restored House by August 12, as per Article 76 (6) of the constitution.
Deuba, 75, first became prime minister on September 12, 1995 and he served until March 12, 1997.
He was again appointed prime minister on July 26, 2001. In May 2002, Deuba dissolved the Parliament and called for fresh elections. But when he sought to postpone the elections, then king Gyanendra sacked him on October 4, 2002 branding him “incompetent”.
But Gyanendra appointed Deuba prime minister on June 4, 2004, after two governments in two years. But Deuba was sacked again on February 1, 2005, when Gyanendra usurped power.
Deuba returned to power once again in 2017 when he was appointed prime minister on June 7 with the support of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). He served until February 15, 2018, and thereafter Oli took over after his party the CPN-UML swept the 2017 elections.
On Tuesday, Deuba replaced Oli, courtesy of a court order.
Oli skipped the oath ceremony.
After Deuba’s oath, Balkrishna Khand, Gyanendra Kari, Janardan Sharma and Pampha Bhusal were sworn in as ministers for home, law and parliamentary affairs, energy and finance, respectively. Sharma and Bhusal are from the Maoist Centre.