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Nepal president dissolves Parliament; elections next spring

KATHMANDU, Nepal  — Nepal’s president dissolved Parliament on Sunday after the prime minister recommended the move amid an escalating feud within his Communist Party that is likely to push the Himalayan nation into a political crisis.

Parliamentary elections will be held on April 30 and May 10, according to a statement from President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s office.

Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli decided to dissolve Parliament at a Cabinet meeting Sunday and immediately presented his recommendation.

Oli became prime minister after his Nepal Communist Party won elections three years ago. Oli’s party and the party of former Maoist rebels had merged to form a strong communist party to win the election.

A protester holds a placard that reads “Dissolution of the parliament is an unconstitutional step” during a protest after the parliament was dissolved and general elections were announced to be held in April and May, more than a year ahead of schedule, in Kathmandu, Nepal December 20, 2020. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/ Reuters.

There has, however, been a power tussle with the leader of the former Maoists rebels, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also the co-chair of the party. Oli has refused to succeed him as the prime minister or lead the party, causing problems within the party.

The opposition has repeatedly accused Oli’s government of corruption and his administration has faced criticism over its handling of the coronavirus. The number of virus cases in Nepal has reached 243,184, including 1,777 deaths.

Oli also has been accused of moving closer to China and drifting away from Nepal’s traditional partner India since taking over power. This has caused problems between Oli and New Delhi.