Nepal’s governing party of former Maoist rebels and fellow communists have split after the top elections body ruled its name was unlawful, pushing the country into further political uncertainty.
The Himalayan nation has been roiled by months of turmoil after Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli dissolved the Parliament in December and accused members of his Nepal Communist Party (NCP) of being uncooperative.
The NCP was formed in 2018 by a merger between Oli’s communist party CPN-UML and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) of former rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
But the party had no right to the NCP name, the Supreme Court ruled on Sunday, because another, separate communist faction was already using it.
On Tuesday, the Election Commission concurred and said it had “dismissed” Oli’s NCP – which had held a rare two-thirds parliamentary majority – from the electoral register.
CPN (Maoist Centre) member Giriraj Mani Pokharel told the AFP news agency the dissolution had sparked discussions in his faction of the party about “whether to withdraw support from the government”.
No decision has been made, he added.
The NCP’s triumph over the incumbent Nepali Congress party – the third chief political force in the country – had been seen as the final step in Nepal’s post-war transformation into a republic.
Brittle alliances have been struck between Nepal’s three dominant parties since 2008, and there was hope a majority government would bring stability and much-needed development to the Himalayan nation.