President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has called the new session of the Parliament – the House of Representatives and the National Assembly - at 4:00pm on July 18 on the government's recommendation.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held here today took a decision to this effect in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent decision ordering the government to call the HoR session before 5:00pm on July 18 and to ensure smooth functioning of the Lower House.

The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had passed the order on July 12 in response to writ petitions challenging the KP Sharma Oli government's move to dissolve the HoR.

The president had, on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, dissolved the HoR on May 22.

The Oli government had abruptly ended the session of the National Assembly on July 12.

Sher Bahadur Deuba was appointed the new executive head on July 13 after the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court reinstated the HoR and ordered the Office of the President to appoint Deuba the new PM under Article 76 (5), as 149 of the 271 members of the HoR had supported his bid for prime ministership.

He will have to seek a vote of confidence by August 12.

Nepali Congress' Joint General Secretary Prakash Sharan Mahat said the PM was holding talks with political parties. If he fails to win the trust vote, he will have to recommend the dissolution of the HoR under Article 76 (7).

Deuba can win the trust vote only if the Mahantha Thakur-Rajendra Mahato faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal or the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction of the CPN-UML supports him. The Thakur-Mahato faction had supported Oli's bid for prime ministership, whereas the Nepal-Khanal faction had supported Deuba's bid under Article 76 (5) of the constitution.

Even if Deuba loses the trust vote, he will become the caretaker prime minister and will have the responsibility of holding the general elections.

The new session of the Parliament can pass some crucial bills. At present, there are 55 bills under both houses' consideration, including the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the Federal Civil Service and Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, said Assistant Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dhamala.

There are some umbrella bills as well whose passage could enable provincial and local governments to exercise their powers and jurisdiction.

The Parliament Secretariat will ensure that all the members of Parliament and employees deployed for Parliament meetings undergo antigen tests though all of them have received both doses of COVID vaccines.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 16 2021, of The Himalayan Times.