Nepal's prime minister resigns just before no confidence vote

Prime Minister K.P. Oli's departure plunges Nepal into a whole new round of political uncertainty. 

AP/Bikram Rai
Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli informs the Parliament about his resignation in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, July 24, 2016. Oil resigned on Sunday shortly before he was to face a confidence vote in parliament that he expected to lose, further aggravating political instability in the Himalayan country.

Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Oli resigned on Sunday, nine months after coming to power and minutes before parliament was to vote on a no confidence motion he was likely to lose.

Oli's departure plunges the Himalyan country, plagued by political turmoil for years, into a whole new round of political uncertainty. This is the country's 23rd government to fall since a multi-party democracy began in 1990 after bloody protests, and the political tumult has weighed on business confidence.

The no-confidence motion was brought by former Maoist rebels who propped up the Oli-led government last October, but fell out with him after accusing him of failing to honor a power-sharing deal. Oli's former allies also accused him of failing to address political concerns of Nepal's ethnic Madhesi minority, who live in the country's southern plains that border India.

"I have already submitted my resignation to the President when I met her before coming to the house," said Oli in a speech in parliament after being deserted by his allies ahead of the scheduled no confidence vote.

Nepal's neighbors, China and India, jostle for influence over the volatile young republic and are worried that prolonged political turmoil could turn one of the world's poorest nations into a haven for criminal gangs and militants.

Nepal has been flirting with crisis since September when it adopted its first republican constitution. The Madhesi minority rejected it, contending that the new federal states it created marginalized them by splitting their homeland.

The Maoists called off a bid to oust Oli back in May after he vowed to address the Madhesi concerns and rebuild many homes destroyed in earthquakes last year.

But Oli's critics said he did not do as he promised.

"This made us unable to continue to work with him," Maoist chief Prachanda, said in parliament on Friday.

Prachanda, who goes by his war nom-de-guerre meaning "Fierce," is the favorite to replace the 64-year-old Oli, who will remain caretaker prime minister until parliament picks a new leader in a process that could take several days.

President Vidhya Devi Bhandari is expected to give political parties seven days to agree on a candidate for prime minister on the basis of political understanding. If this fails, lawmakers will then attempt to elect a new leader on the basis of a majority on the floor of the house.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.