The seven-month-old Nepalese government of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli plunged into crisis on Wednesday with coalition partner Maoists seeking to form a national unity government headed by their chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
The decision was taken by the central committee of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the second biggest party in the government headed by Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist).
In a statement, UCPN (M) said the move was necessary as Oli’s government has failed to address ongoing political problems through dialogue, as also to implement the new constitution and undertake reconstruction work in the wake of last year’s earthquakes.
The UCPN (M) statement appealed to all parties to support the move, and said that even Nepali Congress, the biggest party in parliament and the main opposition, has agreed to a national unity government headed by Maoists.
Soon after the decision, Prachanda went to Oli’s official residence in Baluwatar to inform him about it and asked the prime minister to support the move for his own removal.
The standing committee of UCPN (M) will meet on Wednesday afternoon to take a decision on bringing a no-confidence motion against Oli’s government. Maoists are the third largest party in parliament after NC and CPN (UML).
Reacting to UCPN (M)’s move, the standing committee of CPN (UML) said Oli’s removal at this juncture would lead to political instability and asked the Maosist to rethink their decision.
Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa, who heads Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, the third biggest in the present coalition, has also asked UCPN (M) to reconsider the move.
Though there have been differences among CPN (UML), Maoists and other coalition partners in the present government over various issues, this is the first direct attempt at toppling Oli.
Many coalition partners are unhappy with the prime minister for failing to address the discontent in Madhes through talks and for not speeding up earthquake-related reconstruction work.
Parties from Madhes region bordering India have rejected the new statute as discriminatory towards them and even imposed a five-month-long border blockade seeking amendments.
Despite international donors pledging $4.1 billion in aid, the present government has yet to start reconstruction work a year after two major earthquakes claimed nearly 9,000 lives and destroyed over 800,000 houses.