If KP Sharma Oli has an iota of respect for the people and the democratic processes, he should resign immediately and pave the way for forming a new government.
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated the House of Representatives (HoR) dissolved by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on the recommendation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on December 20, 2020. With this decision, the prime minister has lost moral, ethical and political grounds to remain in power. He should resign immediately.
When KP Sharma Oli was sworn in as the country’s 38th prime minister three years ago, the country was hopeful. The people had overwhelmingly voted to support the communist party to take the country forward. However, Oli’s government floundered from the very beginning. Corruption, bad governance and misuse of state resources were at the peak. His ‘dream projects’ of railways to Tibet and waterways to India never materialized. His government did not even lay the foundations of these projects. His three-year rule proved to be a loss to the country, especially in terms of governance and delivery.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Oli’s government was mired in corruption. His ministers and those around him colluded to purchase the much needed medical equipment at the highest possible rates, costing taxpayers' billions. The government’s response to the pandemic and the recovery efforts have been a total failure. More than 2,000 people have died from COVID-19 and the economy has been hard hit, but the government was busy holding rallies across the country.
Evidently, many in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) were not satisfied with the way Oli was running the government. His party colleagues urged Oli to mend ways in party meetings, several times, but he never cared to take good advice from anybody. When it became clear that the party would force him out, Oli moved to dissolve the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, President Bhandari acted like a mere rubber stamp of Oli by endorsing the House dissolution recommendation immediately afterward, without seeking legal consultation, without giving a second thought. Her excesses, and her abject disregard to the constitution and the law were apparent in many instances in the last three years. Now, along with PM Oli, she too has lost moral, ethical and political grounds to stay in power.
The Supreme Court has validated what the framers of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 have been publicly telling the people. Tired of prime ministers dissolving the House at their choosing, the new constitution did not grant such a power to the prime minister. The Court’s verdict is supremely important because it was the first real test of the new constitution in the court of law. Tuesday’s verdict will set a powerful precedent for future prime ministers who might otherwise dare venture into such misadventures.
Meanwhile, the prime minister’s press advisor has stated that the prime minister won’t resign but will face the parliament. This is outright unethical and goes against the spirit of the parliamentary system. If KP Sharma Oli has an iota of respect for the people and the democratic processes, he should resign immediately and pave the way for forming a new government.