Nepal’s ruling party of ex-Maoist rebels and fellow communists split

Kathmandu, March 9 (AFP/APP): Nepal’s ruling party of ex-Maoist rebels and fellow communists split on Tuesday after the top elections body ruled its name was unlawful, pushing the country into further political uncertainty.

The Himalayan nation has been roiled by months of turmoil after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli dissolved parliament in December and accused members of his Nepal Communist Party (NCP) of being uncooperative. The NCP was formed in 2018 by a merger between Oli’s communist party CPN-UML and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) of former rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

But the party had no right to the NCP name, the Supreme Court ruled Sunday because another, separate communist faction was already using it. On Tuesday the Election Commission concurred, and said it had “dismissed” Oli’s NCP — which had held a rare two-thirds parliamentary majority — from the electoral register. CPN (Maoist Centre) member Girirajmani Pokharel told AFP the dissolution had sparked discussions in his faction of the party about “whether to withdraw support from the government”.

No decision has been made, he added. The NCP’s triumph over the incumbent Nepali Congress party — the third major political force.

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