“The president has dissolved the House of Representatives and ordered the first phase of general elections on 12 November and the second phase on 19 November," a presidential statement issued after midnight said.
The move came after both, caretaker Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, were unable to demonstrate a majority to form the new government by Friday, the deadline set by Bhandari.
The president said that Oli cannot be appointed PM as 26 lawmakers of CPN-UML and 12 of Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) that he (Oli) included in his claim to contend support of 153 House of Representatives (HoR) members have signed in support of Deuba.
Also, the president argued that Deuba cannot be appointed as UML Chairman and the parliamentary party leader has written not to recognise the signatures of 26 UML lawmakers.
Oli on Friday afternoon staked claim first claiming that he has support of 153 HoR members including 121 CPN-UML lawmakers and 32 of Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) just a day after telling President Bhandari to go for formation of new government in accordance with Article 76(5) of the Constitution pointing out he does not have numbers to pass the floor test.
Likewise, NC President Deuba then reached Shital Niwas with list of 149 lawmakers including 26 lawmakers from the Khanal-Nepal faction of UML, 12 of the Yadav-Bhattarai faction of JSP and one from Rashtriya Janamorcha. UML lawmaker Madhav Kumar Nepal, and others who Oli claimed support him were present in person when Deuba submitted his claim.
The decision to dissolve the parliament was made on the recommendation of the cabinet headed by Oli, whose December 2020 dissolution of parliament sparked weeks of protests and was reversed by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in February.
Nepal is battling a deadly second wave of the pandemic and is reporting 8,207 new infections on average each day.
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