KP Sharma Oli has refused to quit as Nepal’s prime minister amid a fresh tug-of-war with key coalition partner the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists), which is seeking his ouster.
“There is pressure on me to quit from certain sections, but my shoulders haven’t tired yet from the burden of the post, and I am not resigning,” Oli told a gathering in Kathmandu on Thursday.
Oli, who heads the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), is said to be under pressure to resign to honour the terms of a “gentlemen’s agreement” he made last month with the Maoists. The parties had inked a nine-point pact and reportedly had an informal understanding that Oli would quit his post to make way for a unity government after the annual budget was passed in parliament.
The premier denied any such agreement had been made. “There has been no deal to hand over my post. If there’s any such deal, I dare anyone to show it to me,” he said.
Senior members of his party, such as former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal, however, contradicted Oli’s stance and insisted an informal deal had been finalised.
Sources said the agreement was reached by the two parties after the Maoists threatened to withdraw from the coalition, which would have led to the collapse of the government. The Maoists agreed to stay after being assured that cases against their cadres for wartime human rights violations would not be pursued in court.
Under the terms of the agreement, Oli reportedly was to make way for Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist-Centre) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to head the next government.
The rift between the coalition partners is reportedly widening, with Maoist ministers staying away from a cabinet meeting on Thursday and dozens of civil servants being transferred against Oli’s wishes.