PM Oli led CPN-UML expels 11 lawmakers for supporting Opposition alliance

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Kathmandu, May 24 (PTI) Nepal’s ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) on Monday expelled 11of its lawmakers for going against the party and supporting the Opposition alliance in its bid to topple the government led by embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.

The Standing Committee of the CPN-UML decided to take action against the lawmakers, including former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, during a meeting held here on Monday.

The expelled lawmakers will not even remain general members of the party for siding with the opposition parties to oust the Oli government.

They were expelled hours after the deadline given to them to furnish clarification expired on Monday morning.

The lawmakers refused to submit an explanation to the committee for their decision to go against the party and support the Opposition alliance, The Himalayan Times reported.

The move by prime minister Oli to expel is seen as the formal beginning of a split in the ruling party. A new party called CPN (Unified) has already been registered with the Election Commission by a student leader close to Madhav Nepal.

Meanwhile, Oli has decided to seek clarification from 12 other leaders from the Nepal-Khanal faction, allotting them a 24-hour ultimatum for an explanation in supporting the Opposition alliance.

These lawmakers, providing their signatures to make Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba the new Prime Minister, are also likely to be expelled from the party's general membership, My Republica website quoted party insiders as saying.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the 275-member House of Representatives on Saturday for the second time in five months and announced snap elections on November 12 and November 19 on the advice of Prime Minister Oli, heading a minority government.

She rejected the bids of both embattled Prime Minister Oli and the Opposition alliance's claims to form a government. Oli and Opposition leader Deuba had staked separate claims to the premiership.

Oli claimed the support of 121 lawmakers from his party CPN-UML and 32 lawmakers of Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal (JSP-N) for his reappointment under Article 76(5) of the Constitution. Nepali Congress President Deuba claimed to have garnered the support of 149 lawmakers.

However, a dispute emerged after a few lawmakers from the Madhav Nepal faction put out statements claiming that their signatures were misused and that they did not sign any paper to install Opposition leader Deuba as the prime minister against their party chief.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

Oli's move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival Prachanda. In February, the apex court reinstated the dissolved House, in a setback to Oli who was preparing for snap polls. PTI MRJ AKJ MRJ