Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday blamed some of his own party leaders for compelling him to dissolve the country’s Parliament and to seek fresh mandate, reported The Kathmandu Post.
On Sunday, Oli’s administration recommended the dissolution, days after he faced backlash over an executive order passed last week. Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari ratified the Cabinet’s proposal and announced that countrywide elections will be held between April 30 and May 10, 2021.
“The elected government was pushed to a corner and picketed against and was not allowed to work so I decided to dissolve the House,” Oli said as he defended his move in an address to the nation. “Though the move to dissolve the House is seen as a sudden step but the situation was created by some leaders of the Nepal Communist Party since long due to their non-cooperation with my government and their opposition.”
Oli said the Parliament became meaningless as the elected government always faced opposition and was often dragged into controversies. “When the prime minister of the majority government was not allowed to work, I did not want to indulge in unfair practices behind closed doors and reach a compromise with them,” he added. “Giving a chance to the people for a fresh mandate is the best democratic alternative.”
Earlier in the day, the Nepal Communist Party’s Standing Committee termed Oli’s move as unconstitutional and undemocratic. It even recommended disciplinary action against the prime minister, according to The Kathmandu Post.
Oli, however, dismissed this and said it was against the party’s statute. “Since I am the first chair of the party, any meeting called by the other chair will not be legitimate,” lawmaker Krishna Rai quoted Oli as saying.
Oli was reportedly under pressure to withdraw an ordinance related to the Constitutional Council Act that he had issued on December 15. 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 the new provisions, the meeting does not require the presence of the Speaker, and the leader of the Opposition party as a simple majority is sufficient quorum.
Sunday’s Cabinet meeting was expected to recommend the replacement of the ordinance. But instead Oli moved a resolution for dissolving the House. The move also comes amidst a prolonged tussle for power between Oli and former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
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.