After the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the politics of Nepal is now polarized establishing PM Oli as the sole leader on one side and the rest including Nepali Congress and factions of NCP on the other.
Despite vehement efforts to lure more MPs from PM Oli’s camp, Prachanda, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalnath Khanal were unable to do so. More than 50 percent of MPs are still with Oli.
Written with one point agenda on how to contain the prime minister’s authority and make President a rubber stamp, the Constitution of Nepal 2015 virtually makes the President an authority of authenticating acts and other activities. Similarly, the framers of the constitution tied up the hands of the prime minister putting so much of ifs and buts to control the authority.
With no direct authority to control the executive, the party chair used these committees to intervene in the nitty-gritty of appointments. As prime minister Oli has been unable to move and decide on his own due to the unconstitutional influence of the party president and party leaders, he has been in a power struggle in his party confronting the leadership.
Following the government’s decision, parties in opposition, as well as the dissenting side within the ruling party, have been engaging in many political and legal discussions to consider the steps ahead.
Started in 1952 between Nepali Congress leaders BP Koirala and Matrika Prasad Koirala, two brothers and leaders of the revolution, the dispute between party president and prime minister over controlling power has spilled political parties several times. Those who lead the party hold the view that the prime minister should abide by party directions and decisions while taking executive decisions.
In 1952, Nepali Congress president B.P Koirala expelled Prime Minister Matrika Prasad Koirala charging him for not abiding by the party. Similarly, Girija Prasad Koirala dissolved the House in 1994 following growing disputes with President Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and supreme leader Ganesh Man Singh.
Bhattarai even filed a petition in the Supreme Court along with main opposition CPN-UML demanding to restore the House of Representatives. In 2002, Sher Bahadur Deuba dissolved the House of Representatives following his disputes with then-president Girija Prasad Koirala.
When Koirala expelled Prime Minister Deuba, he split the party and registered Nepali Congress Democratic. Knowing the political consequences, later Koirala continued to lead the party and parliamentary committee. He became prime minister in 2006 through the revived House of Representatives but he held both positions. Sushil Koirala followed senior Koirala.
Although K.P. Sharma Oli also held party president and parliamentary leader positions in the first elections, he shared party presidentship with Maoist leader Prachanda following the merger between the two parties in 2017.
Prachanda, as a party chairman, started to pressure the prime minister in power-sharing. Taking support from Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalnath Khanal, former colleagues of Oli, Prachanda moved to contain the powers of PM.
In a dramatic turn of events, PM Oli, who has been mired in an intra-party feud with the rival faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), recommended the dissolution of the House of Representatives. With no authority in hand, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari approved it within hours announcing that the general election will be held on April 30 and May 10.
The PM’s move comes in the backdrop of the rival faction of the NCP pressuring him to step down either as PM or party co-chair. The PM had fallen into the minority in all the key bodies of the party — the Secretariat, the Standing Committee and the Central Committee — and his opponents were threatening to take action against him on the basis of majority.