Kathmandu: Two more parties abandoned Nepal’s ruling coalition ahead of a no-confidence vote later Sunday against prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli that he appears likely to lose.
Oli’s ruling coalition lacks a majority in parliament and the vote is likely to trigger fresh uncertainty in the impoverished, quake-hit nation that has suffered years of political turmoil.
The embattled premier was left reeling after former rebel Maoists quit his coalition two weeks ago.
After Oli refused to resign, the former guerrillas and opposition Nepali Congress lawmakers filed a no-confidence motion.
After debate on the motion gathered pace in parliament on Saturday, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic (MJF-D) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), also pulled their support.
“We will vote against the prime minister in the no-confidence vote,” Ram Janam Chaudhary from the MJF-D said.
“We are a party that believes in democracy and we felt it was not right to support him after the largest coalition partner withdrew,” he told AFP.
Oli’s c(Unified Marxist Leninist) holds 175 elected seats in parliament, far fewer than the 299 needed to win the vote.
The Maoists joined the government last October, weeks after Nepal adopted a divisive new national constitution.
Cracks began to appear in the coalition two months ago when they threatened to topple Oli.
Oli survived that attempt by drawing up an 11th-hour deal with Maoist chief, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known by his nom-de-guerre Prachanda.
But Dahal later pulled out of the coalition, citing the government`s failure to implement the agreement to withdraw civil war cases from Nepal`s courts and offer amnesties to people accused of abuses during the decade-long Maoist insurgency, which ended in 2006.
Dahal, who is favourite to replace Oli, on Friday accused the premier of being an egocentric who refuses to listen.
Since becoming premier, Oli has faced fierce criticism over his handling of protests against the charter, which triggered a months-long border blockade in southern Nepal by demonstrators from the Madhesi ethnic minority.
More than 50 people died in clashes between police and protesters, who said the constitution left them politically marginalised.
The new constitution, the first drawn up by elected representatives, was meant to cement peace and bolster Nepal`s transformation to a democratic republic after decades of political instability.
But ongoing discussions between the government and protesters over the charter have failed to yield agreement.
A massive earthquake that ripped through Nepal last April killed nearly 9,000 people.