The Supreme Court of Nepal on Monday restored the dissolved House of Representatives and ordered President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba as the country’s prime minister by Tuesday, The Kathmandu Post reported. Deuba will have to win a vote of confidence within a month of his appointment.
This the second time in five months that the court has reinstated the House. It had taken a similar action in February as well.
Bhandari had dissolved the Parliament on May 21 and ordered fresh elections in six months. The decision was based on the recommendations of caretaker Prime Minister KP Oli’s Cabinet. Neither Oli nor the Opposition have been able to demonstrate a majority to form a new government in Nepal.
On Monday, a constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana said Bhandari’s decision was unconstitutional, according to PTI.
The Supreme Court also ordered that a new session of the House of Representatives be called on July 18. The verdict came as a setback for Oli, who had been preparing for snap elections to be held in November.
The court heard a batch of petitions challenging the dissolution of the House. One of them was filed by the alliance led by Deuba’s Nepali Congress. The party also demanded that Deuba be appointed the prime minister. As many as 146 MPs signed the petition, according to PTI.
“The Constitutional Bench has issued the writ as per the demands of the writ petitioners,” Supreme Court spokesperson Bhadrakali Pokhrel said, according to The Kathmandu Post.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis in December after the president dissolved the House and announced fresh elections between April 30 and May 10 amid a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party. But in February, the Supreme Court overturned that decision and recommended a meeting of the House in 13 days.
In March, the Supreme Court dismissed the legitimacy of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, formed in 2018 through the merger of KP Sharma Oli-led Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”-led Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre).
Oli decided to take a trust vote on May 10, which he lost. However, three days later, he was re-appointed as the prime minister of Nepal after Opposition parties failed to secure a majority to form the new government.