Nepal’s Supreme Court has reinstated its parliament, which was dissolved by caretaker Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in May, and ordered that his rival Sher Bahadur Deuba be appointed as prime minister.
The move on Monday deals a major blow to Oli, who was unable to muster a majority in the House of Representatives and had sought to force a fresh election by dissolving parliament on May 22.
Oli’s move had sparked a fresh constitutional crisis in the Himalayan nation and it marked his second attempt to dissolve parliament in recent months after an initial attempt in December 2020, following a split in his party, was reversed by the Supreme Court in February.
After Nepal’s parliament had been reconstituted, Oli lost a confidence vote on May 10. Before his rivals could stake a claim, however, he advised Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari to dissolve parliament, saying neither he nor opposition leader Deuba were able to muster a majority and form a new government.
On Monday, Supreme Court official Debendra Dhakal said the court had ordered parliament be reconvened within seven days.
“It has also ordered that Sher Bahadur Deuba be appointed as prime minister within two days,” Dhakal told Reuters news agency.
Deuba is expected to call a vote of confidence within a week.
There was no immediate comment from Oli’s office or his aides.
Hundreds of Oli’s supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court to protest against the court decision.
“We are here to protest the unconstitutional decision by the Supreme Court, which was interfering with the affairs of the parliament and its rights,” said one of the protesters, Ramesh Acharya.
The protesters briefly scuffled with riot police who were able to push them back. There were no injuries or arrests.
It was likely there would be several protests later in the week as Oli still has significant support among the public.
Oli became the prime minister in 2018 after the Communist Party of Nepal won a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives. The party, however, has had two splits this year, weakening Oli’s hold on power.