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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Amid political turmoil, Nepal house dissolved; elections next year

Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Sunday dissolved the House of Representatives as recommended by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli earlier in the day, setting the stage for new elections in April-May next year.

The decision of Oli, who is facing protracted turmoil inside his Nepal Communist Party, without prior consultation, triggered protest from senior party leaders and seven cabinet ministers from the party have resigned.

As per the Kathmandu Post,

“Oli’s move of dissolving House comes on the heels of a deepening crisis in his Nepali Communist Party where he has slid into the minority with the opponent faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka Prachanda), Madhav Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal demanding his resignation for failing on the governance front and to abide by party decisions.

Oli was elected prime minister in February 2018 after the alliance of his CPN-UML and Dahal’s CPN (Maoist Centre) was handed a majority in the 2017 elections. The two parties had merged in May 2018 to form the Nepal Communist Party.”

The President, along with the approval to the government’s recommendation, also declared fresh elections to be held in two rounds — on April 30 and on May 10 next year. Earlier on Sunday, in an emergency meeting summoned by Oli, the cabinet decided to recommend the dissolution of the house, in wake of a deepening crisis within the ruling party.

Oli’s move has been widely condemned by all walks of life in Nepal, with political workers, including from his own party, taking to the streets against the decision to dissolve the house two years prior to its term’s end, and terming the move “unconstitutional” and “undemocratic”.

The Nepali Congress, and Janata Samajwadi Party also staged demonstrations against Oli government’s decision. The Nepali Congress, the main opposition in Parliament, has said the Cabinet decision to recommend House dissolution is against the provisions and spirit of the Constitution and it will strongly oppose it.

“We have taken this move as Oli’s final attempt to fulfil his authoritarian desire,” said a party statement issued by spokesman B.P. Sharma. “It is condemnable to push the country towards instability because of intra-party conflict amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The party also called the decision unconstitutional and impulsive, and has appealed to the President to fulfil her role as a guardian of the Constitution by rejecting it.

Nepal has also been rocked with widespread pro-monarchy protests in recent weeks, with thousands flooding the streets in various parts of the nation demanding restoration of the Hindu Monarchy which was formally abolished in 2008 after a Maoist-led civil war. With successive governments since 2008 largely failing to deliver good governance and a lack of accountability and rising corruption, the protesting citizens are campaigning for a reversal to a constitutional monarchy.

(With IANS inputs)

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