go to top
Thousands of protesters gather to demand the ouster of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, in Kathmandu Supporters of a splinter group in the governing Nepal Communist Party gather to demand the ouster of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and the reinstatement of Parliament, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Dec. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Niranjan Shrestha).

Oli’s Power Grab Endangers Nepal’s Fragile Democratic Transition

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

The aftershocks of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s decision last month to dissolve the lower house of Nepal’s Parliament and call for early elections are still being felt throughout the country. Oli’s controversial move, designed to thwart growing demands for him to leave office, has been widely criticized—including within his own Nepal Communist Party, or NCP—for contravening Nepal’s 2015 constitution. His insistence on maintaining power marks a potentially dangerous juncture along Oli’s drift toward authoritarianism, and could reverse democratic gains Nepal has made since its 10-year civil war ended in 2006.

The latest episode in Nepal’s roiling politics was entirely predictable. Oli took power in 2018, after campaigning in the previous year’s elections on a staunchly nationalist platform. The NCP and its fellow leftists in the Maoist party were able to capitalize on a wave of anti-Indian sentiment owing to a blockade that New Delhi imposed in 2015, and they together secured a nearly two-thirds majority in Parliament. Oli then sealed a “gentleman’s agreement” with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the leader of the Maoists, to merge their parties and to take turns holding the top job during the government’s five-year term. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.