Kathmandu, Nepal: Nepal’s top court ousted the sitting prime minister and reinstalled the dissolved parliament, putting the Himalayan country’s political future in jeopardy.
For months, the country has been mired in political infighting between Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and senior party officials.
“The dissolved parliament will be reinstated,” the court wrote in its judgment.
Oli attempted to dissolve parliament in December, but the Supreme Court overturned his decision, ruling it illegal.
The 69-year-old was then defeated in a confidence vote in parliament’s lower house.
After the main opposition parties failed to gain a majority of votes in the bicameral parliament, he was reinstated as Prime Minister.
In May, Oli attempted to dissolve parliament once more, but his decision was contested in the Supreme Court by MPs and political activists.
The court ruled that Sher Bahadur Deuba, the leading opposition leader, should take over as prime minister by late Tuesday since he had made “a claim (of majority) as prime minister.”
To keep his job as prime minister, Deuba must win a vote of confidence in the lower house within a month.
Deuba, the Nepali Congress’s leader, had claimed to have the support of 149 members of the lower house’s 275 members.
The court had barred Oli from “doing what he pleases,” according to political expert Lok Raj Baral.
“Political stability ahead depends on an alliance among sharply divided political parties and their factions,” he added.
The Oli government was elected with a two-thirds majority in 2018.
There was hope that his strong electoral mandate would bring an end to years of instability and short-term governments, which had been aggravated by a terrible earthquake in 2015.
Deuba was Nepal’s prime minister four times between 1995 and 2018, including amid the Maoist insurgency’s decade-long brutality.