Nepal’s political drama took another unexpected turn on Sunday as the Supreme Court ruled that the name Nepal Communist Party (NCP) belonged to another group, taking the country back to where it was three years ago when the ruling party was made up of two entities.
The 12-page decision came two hours before the House of Representatives reconvened after another Supreme Court ruling on 23 February that overturned Prime Minister K P Oli’s decision two months earlier to dissolve the House and call early elections.
Sunday’s decision means that for all practical purposes the NCP is once more divided between Oli’s moderate left Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party and the Maoist Centre led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Dahal had led the Maoist guerrillas in a ten-year insurgency and had forged an electoral alliance with Oli to fight the 2017 elections, which it swept and the two parties formally united in 2018.
Ever since, Dahal and Oli had been tangled in a bitter power struggle within the party, and when Oli got wind that a vote of no confidence was being registered in the Lower House by the rival faction, he dissolved it on 20 December.
There was uncertainty in the Lower House when it reconvened on Sunday (pictured below) as per the Supreme Court ruling, with confusion as to whether the Dahal faction was on the ruling bench or the opposition one.