Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli will not resign immediately and implement the Supreme Court’s verdict against him by facing Parliament that is due to convene within two weeks, an official representing the embattled premier said on Wednesday. In a landmark ruling, a five-member constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher on Tuesday annulled the Oli government’s “unconstitutional” decision to dissolve the 275-member lower house of Parliament. The court also ordered the government to summon the House session within the next 13 days.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 after President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). Oli’s Press Advisor Surya Thapa said the prime minister, who turned 69 this week, intends to implement the verdict of the apex court after facing Parliament that is due to convene within two weeks.
“The Supreme Court’s verdict is controversial, however, it should be accepted and implemented. Its effects will be seen in the future as the decision has not provided any solution to the political problems,” Thapa said. He claimed that the apex court’s verdict will further fuel instability and pave way for power-play.
“The Prime Minister will face the House of Representatives to implement the verdict but will not tender his resignation as of now,” Thapa was quoted as saying by The Himalayan Times. Oli’s Chief Advisor Bishnu Rimal, mirroring Thapa’s sentiments, said that all will have to accept the court’s decision. “However, it provides no solution to existing political complications,” Rimal said.
Thapa’s reaction comes amid mounting pressure on the prime minister to step down following the court verdict. A large section of the Nepalese media welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict that reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives. They hailed the decision, saying it has upheld democratic values and safeguarded the Constitution.
“judgment, the Supreme Court has once again stood by the people, and reestablished the notion of an independent judiciary, wrote The Kathmandu Post in its editorial.” “Now the House has been reinstated and the politics will return to Parliament, the problems are not yet over. There are too many players in the House with no one controlling the majority and the risk of the dirty game of horse-trading could start soon,” the daily warned. Naya Patrika daily termed the ruling a defeat for an autocratic ruler and a victory for democracy and a challenge for the future.
“If both the factions of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) could utilise the opportunity created by the House reinstatement in a constructive way, it would benefit all the party, the cadres and leaders of the party as well as the entire nation,” the Annapurna Post said in its editorial. “One should use conscience so that the country would not plunge into another political crisis and confrontation,” it said.
Meanwhile, Vice-president of the CPN Bamdev Gautam, who has so far maintained a balance between Oli and his rivals Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal, has urged the prime minister to step down. “As the court verdict has proven that the PM’s step was unconstitutional, he must resign immediately,” Gautam said.
Bhim Rawal, the Sudurpaschim in-charge of the Dahal-Nepal faction of Nepal Communist Party (NCP), has said on Wednesday Oli should apologise to the people. “KP Sharma Oli should personally apologise to the nation for dissolving the parliament. If he resigns from the post of Prime Minister on moral grounds and asks for forgiveness from NCP, then only can the party become positive towards him,” The Himalayan Times quoted Rawal as saying.