President dissolves House, declares elections for April 30 and May 10Earlier in the day, the Oli Cabinet had recommended House dissolution.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari has endorsed the Oli government’s recommendation for the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
The Office of the President said in a notice that President Bidya Devi Bhandari has approved the recommendation, pursuant to Article 76 (1) and (7) and Article 85 of the constitution, of the Council of Ministers to dissolve the House of Representatives.
The President has also approved the Cabinet’s recommendation for holding general elections on April 30 and May 10 next year.
“The President has endorsed the government’s recommendation to dissolve the House,” said Tika Dhakal, information and communication expert to the President. “The election has been set for April 30 and May 10 next year.”
The Oli Cabinet on Sunday morning had decided to recommend the House dissolution.
Constitutional experts, however, say the constitution does not allow a majority prime minister to recommend House dissolution.
Oli’s move of dissolving House comes on the heels of a deepening crisis in his Nepali Communist Party where he has slid into the minority with the opponent faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal demanding his resignation for failing on the governance front and to abide by party decisions.
Constitutional experts say the President endorsed an extra-constitutional recommendation of the government.
“President Bhandari has completely failed to play her role of the guardian of the constitution,” senior advocate Chandra Kant Gyawali, who specialises on constitutional law, told the Post. “Now the only hope is the Supreme Court.”
Gyawali said the provisions she has cited are attracted only when there is a hung parliament and no party can prove its majority.
Bhimarjun Acharya, who holds PhD on constitutional law, described the Oli government’s move and subsequent approval by the President as “constitutional coup”.
“Both the government and the President have cited Article 76 wrongly, as it is related to the government formation and that has nothing to do with the incumbent government,” said Acharya. “And article 85 is linked with Article 76.”
According to Acharya, the premises on which the government recommended House dissolution and the President approved wrong.
“The constitutional provisions mentioned do not fit in the existing condition, hence both the prime minister and the President have committed a coup on the constitution,” Acharya told the Post. “The only hope now is from the judiciary, but I am not sure how independently and competently it will deal with the issue.”
This article has been updated to add more quotes.