KATHMANDU, Nepal – Nepal’s highest court on Monday stripped the chief minister of his duties and reinstated parliament. Resolved twice in the last months, opened a new chapter in the chaotic political struggle that has led to the stagnation of governance in the midst of the acute Covid crisis.
It was not immediately clear whether the court ruling would stop the recent political drama in the country’s turbulent transition to democracy since the dissolution of the monarchy in 2008. Opposition leaders welcomed the ruling, calling it a victory for Nepal’s constitution. But supporters of the last Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli, immediately poured into the streets carrying black banners to protest that they would not accept the decision.
The Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional Mr Ole’s move in May to dissolve parliament for a second time and call early elections when his leadership was in doubt. Noting that Mr Oli denied the opposition the opportunity to form a government when it had enough support, the court ordered the replacement of Mr Oli as Prime Minister Bashir Bahadur Deuba, the opposition leader.
The court cannot appoint the prime minister. Rajan Bhattari, an advisor to Mr. Oli, said appointing someone as prime minister is purely Parliament’s business.
Sridhar K. said: Khatri, a political analyst and former professor at Nepal’s Tribhuvan University, said the disagreement in the court’s decision was a clear sign of the extent of the division in the country’s politics in recent years.
“If the court’s decision is not adhered to, it will lead to a constitutional crisis,” he said.
If Mr. Deuba, the 75-year-old leader of the Nepali Congress party, manages to become prime minister, it will be the fifth time he has held the position since the country restored multilateral politics in 1990. The court invited him to be appointed to the post within two days, but he will then need to confirm his position by a vote of confidence in the Houses of Parliament.
Much trouble for Mr Oli, who began his second term as prime minister in 2018, began over the past year when divisions emerged in his Nepal Communist Party.
He won a sweeping election in union with former Maoist rebels. But his associates saw Mr. Ole as ignoring an understanding that they would lead the government in turns, so they tried to rally against him. Unsure if he can retain his position, he has dissolved parliament twice since December, both times finding his move unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The maneuvers for power intensified during a The second wave of the pandemic This spring, frustrating Nepalese who are already suffering from the dire economic strains of one of the poorest countries in Asia. Hospitals were overcrowded, medical resources and vaccines scarce. As the crisis dragged on, regional rivals India and China, who had been vying for influence in Nepal, intervened.
The country’s immunization efforts received a slight boost on Monday, when a donation of 1.5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine arrived from the United States. Nepal has only fully vaccinated 3.6 percent of its population 30 million so far, using supplies from India and China.
When Mr Ole moved again to dissolve parliament in May and call for new elections, opposition leaders went to the Supreme Court, saying he sabotaged their efforts to vote in a new government when they had the majority needed to replace him.
On Monday, the court said more than half of parliament’s members, including nearly two dozen members of his party, had filed petitions calling for his ouster.
“Justice has been served,” said Mendra Regal, leader of the opposition Nepali Congress. “Constitutionalism triumphed in the end.”