Monday, June 14, 2021

Dynamics of vote of confidence

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Had the court not overruled PM KP Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve the parliament, on May 10, probably, Nepali people would have been busy exercising their voting rights. Ironically, on May 10, instead, MPs were busy exercising their voting rights to decide on the fate of PM Oli.

Nepali politics is full of paradoxes. On May 10, PM Oli was seeking vote of confidence of the same parliament that he distrusted so much and dissolved it earlier. And having struggled so much to reinstate the parliament, Nepal-Khanal faction of CPN-UML were contemplating to resign from the same reinstated parliament. Only later they withdrew their suicidal move to resign en masse and decided to remain absent during the time of voting.

For Nepali Congress President Mr SB Deuba, it is sheer paradox that after having successfully unseated Oli from his PM’s chair, he still has to find his own chair. The paradox is that the opposite of “vote of confidence” is not “vote of no-confidence” or vice versa. Had this been the case, Deuba would have been the prime minister.

Voting results

The results of the voting for confidence motion are presented in the Table 1 below with additional information provided in the remarks column.

With 93 votes, PM Oli has failed to attain required threshold (136 votes) to secure his position in the parliament. There is no need for his resignation. He is automatically relieved from the chair of the prime minister and reduced to a caretaker government until the parliament finds a new prime minister. Though opposition parties have secured majority votes (124 out of a total of 232 votes) they too fall short of the required threshold. This indicates they still have to work hard to form a next coalition government.

 

Table 1: Voting Results of Confidence Motion, 10 May

SN

Voting

Number of Votes

Remarks

1

For

93

All CPN UML – Oli faction (included 3 defections from Nepal-Khanal faction)

2

Against

124

Nepali Congress 61, Maoists 48, JSP 15 (Yadav-Bhattarai faction)

3

Neutral

15

JSP members (Thakur-Mahato faction)

4

Total casted votes

232

 

5

Absentees

34

CPN UML 28 (Nepal-Khanal faction), JSP 2 and other independents

6

Total eligible votes

266

 

7

Total Seats

271

Out of 275 seats minus 4 suspensions

8

Required simple majority threshold

136

50% of 271

 

Here are some interesting dynamics emerging out of the Table 1 mentioned above:

  1. PM Oli failed to gain the confidence of the parliament due to own weaknesses rather than the strength of the opposition. Clearly, he failed to secure required majority because 28 MPs loyal to Nepal-Khanal faction remained absent during voting time. He would have secured 121 votes but short of 15 votes to attain the required threshold. But mere presence of 28 MPs would have cast a different dynamics in voting behaviour of 15 MPs remaining neutral in the JSP Thakur-Mahato camp.
  2. The opposition camp too is also far from celebrating its victory. To form next coalition government, they have to work hard. Unless, Nepal-Khanal faction decides to cross floor or decide to resign en masse, JSP members in Thakur-Mahato faction will be bargaining to extract maximum favours from the coalition government.
  3. It is reported that there are some MPs defecting or changing positions within JSP factions. For example, two members have remained absent and two positions from each faction have switched their loyalties. This reflects opportunistic character of JSP members. A partnership with JSP means possible disaster in making.  
  4. Nepal-Khanal faction of CPN-UML still remains to be a decisive force in making or breaking the government but this cannot long last. It is reported that there were three defections to Oli camp during the time of voting.
  5. The vote of confidence might be a small step in resolving political dispute but things are far from over.    

Published on 11 May 2021

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