POLITICSShaky Coalition

Facing criticism from all around, Prime Minister K.P. Shrama Oli appears to be heading towards a political crisis

April 22, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.9 No 19, April 22,2016 (Baisakh 10,2073)

If his 30 minutes of nationwide address on the eve of Nepali New Year is any indication, Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli would call for fresh elections rather than tendering his resignation under pressure.

Prime Minister Oli and his government have failed to accelerate economic growth and carry out earthquake reconstruction efficiently. There is barely anything  tangible achieved in his six months of office.

Almost two months have already passed since the supply of petroleum products resumed and border blockade eased, but rampant black marketing of LPG and other essential commodities seems to be going on.

Despite the call for talks by Prime Minister Oli, the agitating Madheshi Front have not come to the negotiation table to settle their demands. Calling the government response cold, the Madheshi Front has already announced a new round of Kathmandu-centered stir from the next week.

Consolidated under the leadership of former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, the main opposition Nepali Congress will take a more cautious political move in the coming days.

Main coalition partner UCPN-Maoist is critical about prime minister Oli. As political parties are yet to agree on the Conduct of Business of Legislature-Parliament Rules, the appointment process of constitutional bodies including that of Chief Justice and judges of tge Supreme Court has got stalled. Even the recommendation of Sushila Karki as chief justice landed in controversy following the statement of speaker of the Legislature Parliament Onsari Gharti.

In their recent central committee and politburo meetings, senior leaders of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal reportedly criticized Oli for not consulting them on major issues.

Facing criticisms from many fronts, prime minister Oli is now being pushed to the corner. Given his defiant individual nature, prime minister Oli is likely to take any decision, including calling fresh elections.

Although there are still a dozen of laws and regulations required for fresh elections, including demarcation of constituencies, prime minister Oli’s move will create a political deadlock, which he considers to be in his own and CPN-UML’s interest.

The country is under the transitional provision of the constitution now and it will remain under this clause until holding the fresh elections. Part 33 and Article 296 of  the Transitional Provision of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 give full life to the Legislature Parliament as it will dissolve only a day before casting the votes, when the prime minister can recommend fresh elections if he so wishes.

Article 296 (1) says after the commencement of this constitution, the Constituent Assembly shall be transformed into a Legislature-parliament, and the term of such Legislature-Parliament shall be up to 21 January, 2018 A.D.

If the elections for the House of Representatives are to happen pursuant to this Constitution, the term of the transformed Legislature-Parliament shall be until one day before the nominations are filed for the elections of House of Representatives.

Article 274 of the constitution also restricts any possibility of amendment of the clause. Article 274 (1) says this Constitution shall not be amended in a way that contravenes with self-rule of Nepal, sovereignty, territorial integrity and sovereignty vested in people.

As there is no provision in the constitution for the dissolution of the House, the prime minister who can declare the elections may face a no-confidence motion.

Article 298 (1) says the Council of Ministers existing at the time of commencement of this Constitution shall remain until the transformed Legislature-Parliament, in accordance with Clause (2), constitutes a new Council of Ministers.

With the growing difference within coalition partners and resurgent Nepali Congress, prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli will be likely to call fresh elections pushing the country into another phase of uncertainty. 

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