Kathmandu [Nepal], May 22 (ANI): Terming the decision to dissolve the House of Representatives as "unconstitutional and undemocratic", an alliance of Nepal opposition parties on Saturday declared that they will take legal and political steps against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari for taking such a move.
In a joint statement issued at the end of a meeting convened on Saturday, the leaders of opposition parties including the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center), the Madhav Nepal-led faction of the ruling CPN-UML, the Upendra Yadav-led faction of Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) and Rashtriya Janamorcha termed the move taken by the President unconstitutional, undemocratic, autocratic and regressive.
The leaders expressed their commitment to unitedly defend the constitutional rights of Nepali citizens achieved at the end of years of political struggle, The Himalyan Times reported.
"The President should have appointed NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba as per Article 76 (5) of the constitution as he had the support of 149 lawmakers of the lower house of parliament," the statement read.
The Himalayan nation plunged into political turmoil after Prime Minister Oli lost a vote of confidence in the Parliament early this month. The political uncertainty comes at a time when the nation is facing a devastating surge of COVID-19 cases.
The parties claimed that the government is hell-bent on its attempt to prolong the autocratic rule despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
They further made an appeal to all political and civil forces to condemn and stand against the Oli-Bhandari duo's "regressive and autocratic intentions".
Nepal President Bhandari dissolved the country's House of Representatives on the recommendation of the cabinet and called for fresh elections in November.
The President's office in the wee hours of Saturday issued a release announcing the dissolution of the house for the second time as per Article 76 (7) of the Constitution of Nepal.
The next election will be held on November 12 and 19 as per the recommendation of the Cabinet.
Calling an emergency Cabinet meeting just minutes after President Bhandari said that neither Oli nor Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba can be appointed the next PM, Oli recommended President Bhandari to dissolve the House and hold the election in two stages on November 12 and 19.
Ahead of the declaration of fresh elections, President Bhandari also announced none of the claims by Oli and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba over the next PM will be accepted.
The reason given was that Oli cannot be appointed PM as 26 lawmakers of CPN-UML and 12 of Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) that he (Oli) included in his claim to contend support of 153 House of Representatives (HoR) members have signed in support of Deuba.
Also, the President argued that Deuba cannot be appointed as UML Chairman and the parliamentary party leader has written not to recognise signatures of 26 UML lawmakers.
Oli on Friday afternoon staked claim for the PM post stating that he has the support of 153 HoR members including 121 CPN-UML lawmakers and 32 of Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) just a day after telling President Bhandari to go for the formation of a new government in accordance with Article 76(5) of the Constitution pointing out he does not have numbers to pass the floor test.
Likewise, NC President Deuba then reached Shital Niwas with a list of 149 lawmakers including 26 lawmakers from the Khanal-Nepal faction of UML, 12 of the Yadav-Bhattarai faction of JSP and one from Rashtriya Janamorcha.
The current strength of the lower house of the Federal Parliament is 271 after Maoist Centre expelled four lawmakers who joined CPN-UML after the Supreme Court (SC) invalidated the unification of UML and Maoist Centre on March 7.
UML in the dissolved parliament had 121 lawmakers including those of the Khanal-Nepal faction, NC 63 (but two are suspended), Maoist Centre 49 (including Speaker), JSP 34 (including two suspended) and three lawmakers are independent. (ANI)