The President of the Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba took an oath as the new Prime Minister of Nepal on July 13, 2021. The newly sworn-in Prime Minister has formed a five-member cabinet.
The oath ceremony was delayed for about two hours over the language and the format of the appointment letter. Sher Bahadur Deuba was appointed by President Bidya Devi Bhandari, however, there was no mention of clauses of the constitution on the basis of which the appointment has been made.
Following the order of Nepal’s Supreme Court, the President’s office issued a letter stating the Deuba has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Nepal.
The apex court had on July 12, 2021, had ordered Deuba’s appointment for the position while also reinstating the House of Representatives which was dissolved by the former PM K P Sharma Oli.
Supreme Court’s order to appoint new PM
After months of power tussle in Nepal, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was finally grounded on July 12, 2021, as the country’s Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict, directed President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint Nepali Congress Chief Sher Bahadur Deuba as the Prime Minister of the country by July 13.
The apex court also reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives for the second time in 5 months. The verdict was issued by a 5-member constitutional bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana.
The verdict of Nepal’s Supreme court had delivered a major blow to the veteran Communist leader Oli who was preparing for snap polls. The five-member bench issued a mandamus to appoint Sher Bahadur Deuba as the Prime Minister by July 13, 2021.
What was the verdict of Nepal’s Supreme Court?
A 5-member constitutional bench of the apex Court which was led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana issued the verdict stating that the decision of President Bhandari of dissolving the lower house upon the recommendation of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was an unconstitutional act.
The court also ordered summoning a new session of the House of Representatives at 5 PM on July 18, 2021.
Chief Justice Rana stated that the party whip does not apply when lawmakers take part in the voting to elect the new Prime Minister as per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution.
The bench comprised of four other senior-most justices- Mira Khadka, Dipak Kumar Karki, Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai, and Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada- concluded the hearings in the case last week.
Mid-term elections led to Supreme Court’s verdict:
The 275-member lower house was dissolved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari for the second time in 5 months on May 22, 2021, at the recommendation of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.
Snap elections were announced on November 12 and November 19 and the schedule for the mid-term elections was announced by the Election Commission despite the uncertainty over polls.
Petition by the opposition alliance:
As many as 30 petitions, which also included one by the opposition alliance led by the Nepali Congress, were filed against the dissolution of the House by the President.
The alliance of the opposition parties filed a petition with the signature of 146 lawmakers and demanded the reinstatement of the lower house of Parliament and the appointment of Sher Bahadur Deuba as the new Prime Minister.
Who is Sher Bahadur Deuba?
• Sher Bahadur Deuba is a Nepalese politician and is soon going to be the new Prime Minister of Nepal as per the Supreme Court Order.
• Deuba had served as the Prime Minister on four other occasions; from 1995 to 1997, from 2001 to 2002, then from 2004 to 2005, and from 2017 to 2018.
• Since 1991, Sher Bahadur Deuba has been a Member of Parliament for Dadeldhura-1.
• Deuba is also the current President of the Nepali Congress, having been elected to the position since 2016.
Nepal Political Crisis: Background
Nepal had plunged into a political crisis on December 20, 2020, after President Bidya Devi Bhandari had dissolved the lower house. She also announced the fresh elections on April 30 and May 10, 2021, at the recommendations of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
However, on February 23, 2021, the Supreme Court reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives, in a setback to embattled Prime Minister Oli who was preparing for the snap polls in April and May.
K P Sharma Oli, who has been currently heading a minority government after losing a trust vote in the House, has defended his move repeatedly to dissolve the House of Representatives. He claimed that some leaders of his party were attempting to form a parallel government.