UML set to govern 3 provinces, Maoists 1; 3 CMs to be rotatedUML’s Hikmat Karki becomes chief minister of Province 1.
CPN-UML parliamentary party leader of Province 1 Hikmat Karki has been appointed chief minister of the province.
With the ruling coalition forging a power-sharing deal and seven provincial heads setting the deadline for the parties to lay claim to chief ministership, all provinces are set to get new governments within this week.
“Today, the meeting of top leaders of coalition partners settled on a package deal that will soon be unveiled,” said Ramesh Malla, personal secretary to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. “All seven provincial governments will be formed within a week.”
According to a leader present at the meeting, the ruling coalition has decided to divide the chief ministers of the seven provinces—Province 1, Gandaki and Lumbini going to the UML and Karnali to the Maoist Centre. The two parties will head governments in Bagmati and Sudurpaschim by turns. As per the deal, the Maoist Centre will lead the Bagmati government in the first half of the five years, while the UML will lead the Sudurpaschim government first.
Province 1 has become the first to appoint a chief minister after the November polls. Province head Parashuram Khapung appointed Karki as the chief minister of the province as per Article 168 (2) of the constitution after he laid claim to the post with the support of 60 members in the 93-seat provincial assembly.
Karki has the support of the UML’s 40 members, the Maoist Centre’s 13, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s six, and the Janata Samajbadi Party’s one member. In the 93-strong provincial assembly, the support of 47 members makes a majority.
With an agreement in the coalition to allow the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) to lead the Madhesh government for the first half term followed by the Janamat Party in the second half, the JSP parliamentary party leader will lay claim to the chief minister. Province head Hari Shankar Mishra has called the parties to lay claim to chief ministership by 4pm on Thursday.
To elect the party’s parliamentary party leader, an election schedule has been published for Monday from 5 pm to 6 pm. If no one gets a majority, another election will be held on Tuesday morning. Current Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut, former Speaker Saroj Kumar Yadav and assembly member Ram Ashish Yadav are in the fray for the post of parliamentary party leader.
The Bagmati province chief Yadav Chandra Sharma and Gandaki Provincial chief Prithvi Man Gurung have separately called the parties to lay claim for chief ministership by 4 pm on Monday.
“The provincial chief will appoint the chief minister on Monday if all goes as planned,” said Chandi Prasad Aryal, spokesperson at the Gandaki provincial chief’s office.
Provincial chiefs of Lumbini, Karnali and Sudur Paschim, Amik Sherchan, Tilak Pariyar and Devraj Joshi, respectively, however, have made similar calls to the parties, but with Wednesday’s deadline.
Besides the Maoist Centre, the RPP has also been claiming the leadership of the Bagmati Province, home to most of its members among the seven provinces. But the party is set to get the Speaker of the province as per a power-sharing agreement.
Having 21 seats in the 110-member Provincial Assembly, the Maoist Centre’s parliamentary party leader Shalikram Jammarkattel will become chief minister in the first half term while UML parliamentary party leader Jagannath Thapaliya will assume the post in the second half.
The assembly has 37 members from the Congress, 27 from the UML, 13 from the RPP, seven from the CPN (Unified Socialist), three from the Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party and two from the Hamro Nepali Party.
All parties in provincial assemblies have elected their parliamentary party leaders and are now ready for government formation.
Following the 2017 federal and provincial polls, the UML had four chief ministers—Sherdhan Rai in Province 1, Dormani Poudel in Bagmati, Prithvi Subba Gurung in Gandaki, and Shankar Pokhrel in Lumbini—while the Maoist Centre had Mahendra Bahadur Shahi in Karnali and Trilochan Bhatta in Sudur Paschim. Janata Samajbadi Party’s Lalbabu Raut became chief minister of the Madhesh Province and he continued in the position even after a change in the coalition at the federal government.
After Rai, Bhim Acharya of the UML became the second chief minister of Province 1, followed by Unified Socialist leader Rajendra Rai as the third chief minister. In Bagmati, after Poudel, another UML leader Asta Laxmi Shakya became the second chief minister and later Unified Socialist leader Rajendra Pande led the provincial government while in Gandaki, Congress leader Krishna Chandra Nepali took over the reins after Gurung. In Lumbini, Maoist Centre leader Kul Prasad KC replaced UML’s Pokhrel, while out in the Karnali province, Congress leader Jeevan Bahadur Shahi replaced the then chief minister Mahendra Shahi.
Gandaki UML parliamentary party leader Khagaraj Adhikari will lead the provincial government. The 60-member provincial assembly has 27 Congress members, 22 members from the UML, eight from the Maoist Centre, two from the RPP, and one member from the Unified Socialist.
UML parliamentary party leader Lila Giri will become the chief minister of Lumbini.
The 40-strong Karnali Provincial Assembly includes 14 members from the Congress, 13 from the Maoist Centre, 10 from the UML and one each from the RPP, the Unified Socialist and an independent member.
As the parliamentary party leader of the Maoist Centre, Raj Kumar Sharma will become the chief minister for the entire five years, as per the power-sharing deal.
In Sudur Paschim, UML parliamentary party leader Rajendra Singh Rawal will be the chief minister for the first half of the five-year term. The province will be led by a Maoist chief minister in the second half term.
Maoist Centre has elected Khagaraj Bhatta as parliamentary party leader, but the Nagarik Unmukti Party has also laid claim to chief ministership. As per the deal, Bhatta will lead the province in the second half.
The 53-member provincial assembly includes 19 members from the Congress, 11 from the Maoist Centre, 10 from the UML, seven from the Nagarik Unmukti, four from the Unified Socialist, and one from the RPP and an independent member.
According to a leader of the Maoist Centre, the ruling coalition partners have also decided to share the Speaker and Deputy Speaker positions of the seven provinces—UML will get the Speakers of Madhesh and Karnali and the Deputy Speaker of Province 1, Gandaki and Lumbini; the Maoist Centre will get Speakers of Province 1, Gandaki, Lumbini and Sudur Paschim and deputy speakers of Bagmati and Karnali; the RPP will get Speaker of Bagmati, and the Nagarik Unmukti will have the Deputy Speaker of Sudur Paschim.