KATHMANDU (AFP) – Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba won a crucial vote of confidence in Parliament on Sunday (July 18) to cement his grip on power days after his predecessor was ousted by the country’s highest court.

Deuba, who was the head of the opposition Nepali Congress, received 165 votes of support in the 275-seat lower house of Parliament.

“Continuous political confusion, uncertainty, instability weakens democracy,” the 74-year-old told Parliament ahead of the vote.

“So it is important we walk on the road of political stability.” Deuba was sworn in as PM on Tuesday following months of political turmoil sparked by former prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli battles with senior leaders of his party.

Oli, who came into power in 2018, first tried to dissolve parliament in December, but that attempt was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The 69-year-old tried again to dissolve parliament in May. But the top court reinstated the legislative body on Monday and removed him from his post.

Deuba secured a majority for the vote of confidence after lawmakers from Oli’s party backed him.

The vote was required to take place 30 days after Deuba was installed as PM.

If Deuba had lost, he would have had to call for fresh elections in the impoverished Himalayan nation of nearly 30 million people.

The veteran lawmaker said last week that tackling the pandemic – which has seen nearly 670,000 people infected in Nepal with more than 9,500 dying – would be the first priority for his government.

Deuba was elected as Nepal’s prime minister four times between 1995 and 2018, including during the brutal, decade-long Maoist insurgency.

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