Nepal's New Prime Minister
Following months of political turmoil, the Supreme Court of Nepal has reinstated the House of Representatives and directed the Nepali president to appoint Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister, who will be serving his fifth term as PM after his tenure ended in 2018.
The court called for this immediate change in leadership made on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. However, it was delayed by 5 hours as Deuba had flagged a lack of clarity in his appointment, needing rectification to better explain the reason behind reinstating him to power.
Additionally, the Supreme Court overturned Prime Minister Oli’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives, while the Constitutional Bench said his claim to the seat of the prime minister of the country was unconstitutional. The House of Representatives had previously been dissolved twice by President Bhandari. Reports suggest that members of the president’s party were forming a ‘parallel government’, resulting in the dissolution of the parliament in order for the President to maintain power. Proposed by Oli, this decision was seen as a means for him to attain and maintain complete control over the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and Nepali leadership altogether. With intra-party conflict and friction rising, PM Oli faced backlash from members of the NCP, but remained persistent with his decision until the court ruling.
This sparked a series of protests and over 30 writ petitions demanding for Deuba to be appointed prime minister were signed, including by Deuba himself, before the case reached the Supreme Court. As Deuba takes on the leadership of the country, he is expected to bring back stability to the nation, including “balancing ties” again with India and strengthening Nepal’s constitutional democracy. The public looks to Deuba to overthrow former Prime Minister Oli’s dictatorial rule. Terming this new leadership as a ‘coalition government’, Deuba has successfully secured the vote of confidence of the House of Representatives and was sworn in as the new prime minister of Nepal.
President Bhandari, along with former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of the NCP, called for new elections in April 2021. The crisis struck after PM Oli’s government was criticised for its poor handling of the second wave of COVID-19 cases. Reports claim that the parliament was dissolved to prolong the PM’s time in office, with a surge on COVID cases preventing polls to take place.
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