Nepal’s PM Oli springs a surprise on detractors, dissolves Parliament

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Dec 20, 2020 12:25 PM IST

PM KP Sharma Oli is expected to split the ruling Nepal Communist Party after dissolving Parliament.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli who had been under pressure from his detractors in the ruling Nepal Communist Party to withdraw a controversial ordinance on Sunday morning recommended dissolution of Parliament. The recommendation was cleared at an emergency meeting of the cabinet convened by PM Oli on Sunday morning.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday morning recommended dissolution of Nepal’s Parliament(AFP)
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday morning recommended dissolution of Nepal’s Parliament(AFP)

“Today’s Cabinet meeting decided to recommend the President to dissolve the Parliament,” said Barshaman Pun, energy minister in PM Oli’s cabinet announced in Kathmandu after the meeting.

The surprise move comes at a time PM Oli was under intense pressure from the rival factions of the NCP led by former prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal better known by his nom de guerre Prachanda and Madhav Nepal.

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PM Oli had last evening met President Bidya Devi Bhandari at her official residence ‘Shital Niwas’, one of the many meetings that he held on Saturday as he tried to convince his rivals to back down.

The dissolution of parliament - he will continue to head the interim government - is seen as a precursor to a split in the party that had been piling pressure on him to withdraw an ordinance that his government had issued on Tuesday to give himself power to make crucial appointments.

On Wednesday, the party’s standing committee had passed a resolution that asked PM Oli to withdraw the ordinance. He had agreed to comply at the committee’s meeting but later had other thoughts.

On Saturday, PM Oli drove down to Prachanda’s house for one more attempt to reconcile their differences, offering to withdraw the ordinance if the political document that was sharply critical of him was also withdrawn. People familiar with the matter said PM Oli told Prachanda that they needed to work together and find a way out of the crisis. But Prachanda did not budge.

PM Oli took the call soon after. He is learnt to have sounded out Home minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, who is seen to be close to Prachanda, and sought his support in dissolving the House.

At his meeting with President Bhandari that continued till midnight, Nepal watchers said PM Oli was advised against taking such a drastic action. But PM Oli had made up his mind.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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