Nepal president, PM dissolve parliament again, announce fresh elections in Nov

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli takes the oath of office and secrecy from President Bidya Devi Bhandari, in Kathmandu, on Friday, May 14, 2021. Photo: Bikas Shrestha

Kathmandu, May 22

In what remained an expected move, but unconstitutional to many, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has announced the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the federal parliament, in the wee hours on Saturday.

According to the President’s Office statement issued at 1:49 am, the head of the state has announced mid-term elections to be held on November 12, 2021, and November 19 in two rounds.

The announcement follows the hours-long political drama in Kathmandu, in which two leaders–KP Sharma Oli and Sher Bahadur Deuba–staked their separated claims to premiership claiming support of the majority lawmakers to them. This had led the president to decide that both the claims could not be established.

The decision too had come late, at 11:38 pm on Friday, after which Prime Minister Oli had called his cabinet meeting and recommended the dissolution of the House.

Apparently, Oli was the mastermind behind the drama. On Thursday evening, he had recommended the president issue a call for the new PM who could secure the majority in the House although he was constitutionally required to seek a vote of confidence by June 12. While he said he was certain he could not secure the majority on Thursday evening, Oli was the first to stake his claim to the premiership with the majority support on Friday afternoon.

Divisions in Oli’s CPN-UML and Madhes-centric Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal were apparent factors that blocked the country from getting rid of Oli, who over the last three years has earned notoriety for misinterpreting the constitution and party rules to stay in power in the government and the party.

Oli had dissolved the House on December 20, 2020, also, but the Supreme Court had reinstated it on February 23 this year, citing all efforts were not made to form the new government. This time, therefore, Oli has managed to try two alternative methods of government formation although his moves have been constitutionally debated. His decision this time seems more, if not absolutely, constitutional than the previous one.

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