The Supreme Court of Nepal on Tuesday re-established the dissolved House of Representatives and ordered the government to convene the session of the House within the next 13 days, inflicting a setback on Prime Minister KP Oli on his 70th birthday.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis after President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on December 20 dissolved the 275 members of the Lower House and announced new elections on April 30 and May 10 on the recommendation of Oli, in the midst of ‘a power struggle within the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (NCP) between factions led by the Prime Minister and Pushpa Kamal Dahal’ Prachanda ‘and Madhav Kumar Nepal.
On Tuesday, a five-member constitutional bench, led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, said in a unanimous judgment that the provisions of the Constitution cited by Oli and Bhandari were irrelevant because the Constitution of Nepal made a provision special against the dissolution of Parliament. in the medium term without exhausting all the options to form an alternative government.
The bench, also made up of Judges Tej Bahadur Karki, Bishwambar Shrestha, Anil Sinha and Sapana Pradhan Malla, also instructed Oli and Bhardari to convene the Chamber within 13 days.
What’s next for Oli?
With a loss of face, Oli finds himself with limited options like proving a majority in the House or preventing the rival NCP faction from taking over the government. There is speculation that Oli could even support Sher Bahadur Deuba, leader of the main opposition party in the Nepalese Congress, and support a government on a power-sharing basis. However, this is an approach that could also be explored by the Prachanda-Nepal faction of the NCP.
Before the verdict was announced, there was a strong police deployment around the Supreme Court. Oli summoned the heads of the security forces, including the head of the Nepalese army, to assess the likely political response and the resulting law enforcement situation in the face of his defeat.
Shortly after the verdict, Prachanda called on the prime minister to resign. “If there is any shame left on Oli, he has to resign now,” he said.
Earlier in December, Oli, facing infighting within the NCP, made the unilateral recommendation to dissolve the House in Bhandari, accusing his opponents in the Party of not cooperating with him or of letting the government run smoothly. .
He argued that speaking to the people for a new term is the greatest democratic exercise and said he made the decision to dissolve the House because he enjoyed the inherent power as head of a majority government.
The dissolution of the House sparked protests from a large ruling NCP faction, led by Prachanda and Nepal. This decision was immediately challenged in the Supreme Court by 13 different petitioners, including the chief whip of the NCP.
In the last general elections, the NCP won a majority of almost two-thirds. However, after Oli’s decision to dissolve the House, the two factions – one led by Oli and the other led by Prachanda and Nepal – both claimed to be the ‘real’ NCP – a question the Commission election has yet to settle.
While Oli continues to be the chairman of the NCP which unilaterally controls the government, the NCP’s Prachanda-Nepal faction has more MPs and enjoys a majority in the party’s central secretariat, board and central committee. .
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