Nepal top court quashes 2018 formation of ruling Nepal Communist Party

Nepal’s Supreme Court on Sunday gave yet another verdict with serious political implications that effectively dismisses the existence of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which was formed through the merger of K P Sharma Oli-led Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’-led Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in 2018.

A two-member bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the allocation of the NCP name to the new party that was formed after the merger was illegal because the name was already allotted to a party led by Rishi Kattel. Therefore, the court ruled that the current ruling party named NCP stood “dismissed”.

The court said in its verdict that the two groups that merged in 2018 — the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) — would be revived as separate entities as in their pre-unification days, and that “if the two sides still want to unite, they should begin the process afresh and immediately apprise the Election Commission about it”.

The long awaited verdict came on Sunday, just hours before the first session of the House of Representatives after the Supreme Court annulled its dismissal by Prime Minister Oli on December 20 and ordered its reinstatement.

In the election that took place in December 2018, the UML and Maoists had fought on a joint manifesto and their own respective election symbols with tickets allocated on 60:40 ratio. The election saw UML winning 64 per cent of the seats it contested whereas the Maoists won only 36 per cent. The two parties later united a little after a year of the election, giving birth to the NCP.

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Oli said he welcomed the decision of the court, but it has effectively transformed a House of single party majority into a hung one, with Oli and Prachanda now separately heading the erstwhile NCP’s constituents, and their parliamentary wings.

Infighting between the two factions had reached its peak on December 20, and Oli, citing non-cooperation from the the dissidents, dismissed parliament to be followed by new election in early May. The Supreme Court, however, reinstated the House — effectively stalling the scheduled polls.

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