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Top Court delivers blow to PM Oli

Rajan Bhattarai said the government would comply with the court order
K P Sharma Oli

Reuters   |   Kathmandu   |   Published 24.06.21, 01:21 AM

 Nepal’s Supreme Court delivered a fresh blow to embattled Communist Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli by removing 20 recently appointed ministers, pending a ruling on whether a caretaker Premier can make such sweeping cabinet changes.

“This is an interim order and the court will give its final verdict later,” court official Bhadrakali Pokharel told Reuters on Wednesday, a day after the decision by a two-judge bench.


 With the Himalayan country struggling to contain a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections and beset by political turmoil, Oli lost a vote of confidence in May as a result of factional infighting within his Communist Party of Nepal (UML).

 Oli dissolved parliament and ordered fresh elections for November, while staying on as caretaker Prime Minister until the elections are held.  The court is set to begin hearing dozens of petitions on Wednesday challenging Oli’s dissolution of parliament.

 In a bid to hold onto power and ditch opponents within his own party, Oli earlier this month dropped most ministers from his cabinet, and named 20 replacements, who were mainly members of a junior coalition partner. The appointments had been “against the spirit of the Constitution”, the Supreme Court judges said, as Oli was only a caretaker Premier.

 The court’s removal of the 20 ministers means the cabinet is left with just five members, including Oli. “The Prime Minister had completely disregarded the Constitution in making the appointments, the court has applied a brake to this,” petitioner Dinesh Tripathi said.

 There was no immediate comment from Oli but his aide Rajan Bhattarai said the government would comply with the court order, though he described it as “politically incorrect”.

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