A day after the two large coalition partners filed an impeachment motion against the chief justice, the Rastriya Prajantantra Party, the fourth largest party in Parliament, on Monday pulled its support for the government.
The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the RPP, which has objected to the move of the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) of registering the impeachment motion against Sushila Karki, decided to withdraw support to the government during an emergency meeting on Monday .
The RPP has 37 seats in Parliament.
The ruling coalition, which is backed by Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NLF), however, still has 309 seats in Parliament. Hence the RPP’s move does not throw the government into minority. But nonetheless, crisis looms over the NC-Maoist government, as the NLF, which too has objected to the impeachment motion against Karki, is considering withdrawing its support to the government.
In the 593-strong Parliament, coalition partners need 297 seats to prove simple majority.
“The immature decision by the NC and Maoist Centre has only weakened the judiciary,” said Sushil Shrestha, spokesperson for the RPP. “There fore we decided to pull our support for the government.”
As many as 249 lawmakers from the NC and the Maoist Centre on Sunday filed the impeachment motion against Karki, charging her with infringing upon the executive’s jurisdiction and nurturing factionalism in the judiciary. The RPP, however, has maintained that the party will extend all kinds of support to the government to make the polls scheduled for May.
But for holding the scheduled polls, the NC and Maoist Centre must be able to keep the coalition intact, for which the Bijay Kumar Gachhadar-led NLF needs to stick to the government.
NLF Chief Whip Yogendra Chaudhary said his party is against the NC-Maoist move of filing the impeachment motion against Karki. “We condemn the impeachment move, and we in no way can support this move,” he said. But when asked whether the NLF would continue its support to the government as the party objects to the impeachment move of the ruling parties, Chaudhary said, “Our party on Tuesday will take a decision about the next move.”
The NLF has 18 seats in Parliament and its decision to pull support could unleash political turmoil.