Nepal: Supreme Court re-establishes dissolved lower house

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KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – The Supreme Court of Nepal re-established the House of Representatives on Monday and upheld the opposition leader’s claim to be the new prime minister, a lawyer said.

Monday’s court order excludes Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, who led a caretaker government until the scheduled elections, said Om Prakash Aryal, among the lawyers who filed the petition with the court.

In May, Oli ordered the president to dissolve the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, and announce new elections later this year. The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court by a coalition of opposition parties who said they had the support of a majority in parliament to form a new government.

The Supreme Court also ruled on Monday that the re-established House of Representatives is expected to meet within a week, when the leader of the main opposition party, Sher Bahadur Deuba, is expected to call for a vote of confidence.

There was no immediate comment from Oli’s office or his associates.

Hundreds of Oli supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court to protest the court ruling.

“We are here to protest against the unconstitutional ruling of the Supreme Court, which interfered with the business of Parliament and its rights,” said one of the protesters, Ramesh Acharya.

Protesters briefly scuffled with riot police who managed to push them back. There were no injuries or arrests.

It was likely that there would be several protests later in the week, as Oli still enjoys significant public support.

This is the second time the Supreme Court has reestablished the House of Representatives this year after it was dissolved by Oli.

He dissolved the House of Representatives in December and called for new elections in April, but this was rejected by the Supreme Court and the house was reestablished in February. Oli again called on the president to dissolve the House of Representatives in May with elections slated for November.

Oli became prime minister in 2018 after the Communist Party of Nepal won the majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The party has seen two splits this year, however, weakening Oli’s grip on power.

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