Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday attempted to consolidate his control over the Nepal Communist Party, inducting his loyalists in a key panel of the party even as the rival faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka ‘Prachanda’ announced the decision to replace him as co-chairman of the party with former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Nepal plunged into a political crisis after PM Oli, 68, dissolved parliament on Sunday and decided to hold general elections in two phases on April 30 and May 10, a year ahead of schedule. In a televised address to the nation, PM Oli later defended his decision, insisting that he was “forced to seek a fresh mandate through elections as attempts were made against my government, not to allow it to function properly.”
“The dissolution of parliament and fresh elections were not my choice,” PM Oli said in his first comments after the decision. The attempt to induct PM Oli’s loyalists in key party panels such as the central committee started soon after.
The two factions of the communist party – one headed by PM Oli and the other by rival, Pushpa Kamal Dahal – held meetings of their factions. Dahal’s faction has the majority support in most party panels including the 446-member central committee that met on Tuesday.
At the end of the central committee meeting, the Dahal faction announced the decision to replace KP Sharma Oli with Madhav Kumar Nepal as chairman of the Nepal Communist Party. “A total of 315 Central Committee Members have voted in favour of Madhav Nepal,” the spokesperson said, declaring that PM Oli will also have to face disciplinary action.
Just a few hours before this meeting, PM Oli had also presided over a party meet that he had called. This one announced a 1,199 member committee to organise the party’s general convention to strengthen his hold, adding The newly-formed committee by the Oli faction adds 556 members to the existing 446-member Central Committee of the ruling party to give the prime minister majority control.
But the Kathmandu Post, however, quoted experts who insisted that PM Oli’s move to induct 556 members may not be successful.
The election commission can only recognise the expansion of the central committee if it has been expanded by a majority vote of the existing central committee or on the basis of the statute of the party that authorises Oli, as a chair of the party, to nominate new members in its Central Committee.