Nepal became a federal democratic republic with the abolition of monarchy in 2008, followed by the passing of a new Constitution in 2015. The President serves as the nation’s head of state and is elected by an elected council consisting of the members of the Parliament and state legislatures. And the Prime Minister is indirectly elected, through political consent, by the parliament. In the last 30 years, no Prime Minister has completed a full tenure of 5 years.
Source – Indiatoday.com
However, recently there has been intense political unrest in the country amidst the pandemic. In December, the President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the Parliament’s House of Representatives on the recommendation of the then Prime Minister, K. P. Sharma Oli, two years ahead of the expiry of the term. The President also announced mid-term general elections in April-May 2021. 7 ministers from the cabinet, in a bid to protest against this move, resigned from their post.
The intra-party feud within the ruling party, Nepal Communist Party (NCP), can be stated as one of the reasons for this move. The party has been facing the months-long tussle between two factions. One is led by the former Prime Minister Oli and the other is led by Prachanda. The seven ministers who resigned from their post belong to the Prachanda faction. The main Opposition Party, Nepal Congress also disagreed with the move and strongly opposed it.
Not just this, but NCP’s Standing Committee had also termed this move as unconstitutional and had decided to take strong measures against the Prime Minister.
12 writ petitions had been filed in the Supreme Court to quash the act of dissolving the Federal House. Thus, when the Supreme Court restored the House, the question of who would now be the Prime Minister arose.
While this was happening, another candidate, Sher Bahadur Dueba, also stood in line for the election of this post. Thus, we saw 2 major candidates, Oli and Bahadur Dueba who each claimed that they had the support of 153 and 149 ministers of the Parliament. However, seeing that the total membership of the house is 275, the numbers did not add up. When given the opportunity to prove this, Oli lost the support of 26 lawmakers of the CPN-UML and 12 of the Janata Samajwadi Party whose claim he had included in the count above.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari rejected both the applications and dissolved the house again within a span of less than six months and scheduled elections in November, 2021. Amidst the pandemic, this unrest has been challenged by a lot of parties including JSP, The Nepali Congress, Maoist Centre and a lot more. This was not taken well by the citizens of Nepal.
In a bid to protest against dissolution of the house for the second time, the people rallied in several cities raising slogans. In February, the Supreme Court had turned down the request of the President to dissolve the Parliament. Reinstalling the house, the Court paved the way for a no-confidence vote against Oli who was removed as the Prime Minister on May 10. The Nepali President set May 21 as the deadline for the other parties to obtain a majority.
Source – hrw.org
The #NoVaccineNoVote hashtag has been famous on Twitter where the citizens are practically begging their government to focus on the pandemic rather than politics. While all this was happening, approximately five lakh cases had been tested positive since the outbreak. India, on this matter claimed that as this was an internal issue between the political parties, it would not like to take sides.
Recently, on the 12th of July, the Supreme court ordered President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint Sher Bahadur Dueba, the Congress Chief. The Court also reinstalled the house twice within a span of five months.
A five-member Constitutional bench of the Supreme declared the acts of Oli as unconstitutional and summoned a new session of the House of Representative, the lower house of the Parliament, on 18th July, 2021. Oli, who is currently heading a minority government in the house, has been making defensive statements such as that of the other faction forming a parallel government.
Source – Aljazeera.com
Written by – Devarshi Adwani
Edited by – Khyati Kallianpur
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