Opponents turn to Supreme Court against ‘constitutional coup’; three pleas under process, says court
Nepal’s embattled Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on Monday defended his move to abruptly dissolve Parliament, saying he was forced to seek a fresh mandate through elections as the rift within the ruling Nepal Communist Party severely affected his government’s functioning.
Mr. Oli on Sunday sprang a surprise on his rivals and got the President to dissolve Parliament, a controversial move amidst a prolonged tussle for power between him and former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ within the ruling dispensation. In a special address to the nation, Mr. Oli said that he was forced to dissolve Parliament and announce mid-term elections after he learnt about a plan to move a vote of no-confidence against him.
“I was forced to seek a fresh mandate through elections as attempts were made against my government, not to allow it to function properly,” he said while defending his decision to dissolve Parliament and announce dates for mid-term elections.
“The elected government was pushed to a corner and picketed against and was not allowed to work so I decided to dissolve the house,” he added. “Against the people’s mandate and their will, national politics was dragged into an endless and goalless direction by creating controversy, making Parliament meaningless as the elected government could not receive its support but always faced opposition and dragged into the controversy.”
He accused some of his own party leaders of being responsible for forcing him to take this step. “When the Prime Minister of the majority government was not allowed to work, I did not want to indulge in unfair practices behind closed doors and reach a compromise with them,” he said. “This move could be seen as an abrupt step for now, but some of my party leaders should be held responsible for creating this situation who did not cooperate with my government,” Mr. Oli said.
Meanwhile, opponents of Mr. Oli turned to the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge the dissolution of parliament and denounced it as a “constitutional coup”. Seven Ministers stepped down after the dissolution, saying it was violation of the “popular mandate” given to them in a 2017 general election.
Supreme Court Spokesman Bhadrakali Pokharel said three petitions against the dissolution were “in the process of being registered”.
“Under the constitution, the Prime Minister has no prerogative to dissolve Parliament,” lawyer Dinesh Tripathi, who is one of the petitioners, told Reuters. “It’s a constitutional coup. I’m seeking a stay order from the court.”