Kathmandu: We bade farewell to 2021, the year that witnessed a lot of unpleasant and unfortunate political events which are going to shape Nepal’s politics in 2022. Last year was full of many awestrucking and major political events.
While the country was amid the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, with lockdown bringing the mobility and economy to a near standstill, politics passed through lots of ups and downs.
Final days of 2020 witnessed rifts and turmoil within the then ruling Nepal Communist Party. The two chairs of NCP–KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal–developed an unhealthy relationship and the fissures between them ultimately resulted in the dissolution of the House of Representatives by KP Sharma Oli on December 20, 2020. At the recommendation of Oli, President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the HoR and announced fresh polls for April 30 and May 10 of 2021. This particular move proved to be decisive in the regime change that was to follow in a few months.
|December 20, 2020||Dissolution of the House of Representatives by KP Sharma Oli|
|February 23, 2021||Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives|
|March 7||The apex court annulled the merger of CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Center)|
|May 10||KP Oli sought the vote of confidence in the reinstated House of Representatives|
|May 22||House dissolution for the second time|
|July 12||The apex court again termed the House dissolution unconstitutional and reinstated the parliament. It also issued a mandamus order to appoint Deuba as the prime minister on the same day|
|October 8||Deuba appointed Gajendra Hamal as a Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies on|
|November 26||UML’s National Convention commenced|
|December 2||RPP Convention|
|December 10||Nepali Congress General Convention|
The early dissolution of the parliament led to many twists and turns in Nepali politics throughout the year.
On February 23, 2021, Nepal’s Supreme Court issued a historic verdict and reinstated the House of Representatives. A five-member constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Rana issued the verdict to that effect.
The apex court issued yet another verdict on March 7 annulling the merger of CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Center), pushing the Nepal Communist Party to its pre-merger status. The NCP was formed in 2018 after the merger of CPN(UML) and Maoist Center.
Amid dissent from nearly every walk of life, KP Oli sought the vote of confidence in the reinstated House of Representatives on May 10 which he lost as some of his party’s lawmakers did not vote for him. As per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution of Nepal, Oli and Sher Bahadur Deuba staked claim on the prime-ministerial post. When President Bidya Devi Bhandari denied both the claims, declaring that neither of them had a majority, Oli quickly recommended the House dissolution for the second time on May 22 and the president endorsed the recommendation without any second thought. Fresh polls were called, again, for November 12 and 19.
The apex court again termed the House dissolution unconstitutional and reinstated the parliament on July 12. For the first time in history, it also issued a mandamus order to appoint Deuba as the prime minister on the same day. In August 2021, Madhav Nepal split from CPN UML and formed a new party named CPN (Unified Socialist). A coalition was formed incorporating CPN (Unified Socialist), Nepali Congress, JSPN and CPN (Maoist Center).
Prime Minister Deuba, who had promised to get politics back on track and ensure good governance, however, failed to live up to his own promises.
As soon as Deuba got into power, he fell into controversy. He appointed Gajendra Hamal, allegedly a close relative of CJ Cholendra Shamsher Rana, as a Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies on October 8, 2021. CJ Rana was alleged to have pressured Deuba to appoint Hamal. The act triggered criticism from different walks of life and courted controversy. Following pressures from various sectors, Hamal resigned immediately, but the criticism of Rana continued. Legal fraternity and civil society asked for CJ Rana’s resignation, accusing him of dictating the executive. CJ Rana has also been accused of involvement in various corruption cases.
For around a month, members of the legal fraternity boycotted the bench and even launched protests at Supreme Court premises demanding the resignation, even impeachment, of sitting Chief Justice. This has been seen as an event that led to the erosion of credibility and fairness of Nepal’s justice system.
CPN UML’s National Convention held in November reelected KP Sharma Oli as the party chairman. Similarly, the General Convention of Nepali Congress held in December reelected Sher Bahadur Deuba as the party president. Only Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) elected a new face to the party’s top post through its General Convention held in early December. Rajendra Lingden was elected as the party president.
The year 2022 will most probably be the year of elections. Unpredictability often defines Nepali politics. New alliances may be formed on the eve of elections.
Here is a wish that the political class will work to realize people’s aspirations for accountability, good governance and development. Happy New Year!