Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Sunday ratified the proposal of the Cabinet to dissolve the Parliament, ANI reported. The President’s Office said that Bhandari has announced to hold countywide elections between April 30 and May 10, 2021.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s administration recommended the dissolution, days after he faced backlash over an executive order passed last week, The Kathmandu Post reported. The proposal was made at an emergency Cabinet meeting.
The House of Representatives, which was elected in 2017, has 275 members. However, since Nepal’s constitution does not have a provision for House dissolution, the move was likely to be challenged in the country’s courts.
“As long as there is a possibility of forming a government from Parliament, there is no provision to dissolve the House,” said country’s constitutional expert Dinesh Tripathi, according to PTI.
Oli was reportedly under pressure to withdraw an ordinance related to the Constitutional Council Act that he had issued on Tuesday. The ordinance was endorsed by President Bhandari on the same day.
The House Speaker is one of the members in the Constitutional Council, headed by the prime minister, which makes recommendations for key appointments including in constitutional bodies, judiciary and foreign missions. As per the provisions of the Act, five of the six members must be present for the meeting to convene.
The amendments introduced by Oli seek to change this. As per new provisions, introduced through an ordinance on Tuesday, the meeting does not require the presence of the Speaker, and the leader of the Opposition party as a simple majority is sufficient quorum, according to The Kathmandu Post.
Sunday’s Cabinet meeting was expected to recommend the replacement of the ordinance, the newspaper reported. But instead Oli moved a resolution for dissolving the House.
“Today’s [Sunday] Cabinet meeting decided to recommend the President to dissolve the Parliament,” said Barshaman Pun, Energy Minister in Oli’s cabinet. “No one opposed.”
The move also comes amidst a prolonged tussle for power between Oli and former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, reported PTI.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party has been witnessing an intra-party feud between two factions, one led by the prime minister, and another by Prachanda, also the executive chair of the party. In June, Oli had claimed that efforts were being made to oust him after his government redrew the country’s political map by incorporating three strategically important Indian territories.
Senior NCP leader and former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who belongs to the Prachanda camp, termed Oli’s move to dissolve Parliament as unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the main Opposition, Nepali Congress, called an emergency meeting of the party on Sunday.