In a major turn of events, the Nepal Cabinet was dissolved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on recommendation from Prime Minister KP Oli. Oli had held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday morning and had decided to recommend the President for the dissolution of Parliament’s House of Representatives.
“Upon the recommendation of the council of ministers, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari announces that national polls will be held between April 30 and May 10 next year,” said the President’s Office in a statement, as reported by news agency ANI.
However, Oli’s decision to dissolve the Parliament didn’t go well with the opposition which has termed the move as unconstitutional.
Constitutional experts have also termed the move to dissolve Parliament as unconstitutional. As per the provision of Nepal’s Constitution, there is no provision of dissolving Parliament by the Prime Minister of a majority government, they said, adding that Oli’s move is likely to be challenged in the court.
“The decision has been made in haste as all the ministers weren’t present in the cabinet meeting this morning. This is against the democratic norms and would take the nation backwards. It can’t be implemented,” Narayankaji Shrestha, spokesperson of ruling Nepal Communist Party, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
While it is not clear why the Parliament has been dissolved, media reports suggest that the decision was taken over the Constitutional Council Act. It is being reported that PM Oli was under severe pressure to repeal the act which was approved by the President on Tuesday.
The Constitutional Council Act gives PM Oli the right to convene meetings and make decisions even in presence of only three members. The Constitutional Council is headed by the prime minister and includes the chief justice, speaker, chairperson of the National Assembly, leader of the opposition, and the deputy speaker as its members.
However, it has been widely criticised in the Himalayan country and has been termed as “undemocratic”, following which Oli agreed to amend it.
“The ordinance has been issued even as the post of Deputy Speaker remains vacant. It is ridiculous to say that the Constitutional Council meeting lacked quorum even without taking the Speaker of the House of Representatives into confidence and bypassing the parliament session. It has exposed the tendency of totalitarianism. This is an undemocratic move and NC clearly disagrees with it,” Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba had said.