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Nepal's caretaker PM ejected from ruling party, stays in office

Gopal Sharma
·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Nepal's PM K. P. Oli reviews the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's caretaker Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli was thrown out of the country's ruling Communist party on Monday, his opponents said, in protest at his abrupt decision in December to dissolve parliament and call for an early general election.

Oli remains in office despite the expulsion.

On Monday, dozens of protesters who marched near Oli's residence to oppose the parliament's dissolution clashed with police who used water cannons and caned some with rattan sticks to break up the anti-Oli rally.

Witnesses said some protesters were injured in the clash but police officials said only "mild force" was used to stop demonstrators from entering the restricted area.

Judges in the Himalayan country's top court are hearing more than a dozen petitions from independent lawyers and Oli opponents on whether the dissolution of parliament and calling of an early election was legitimate or unconstitutional. The court is expected to deliver its verdict next month.

The ruling Nepal Communist Party has split over Oli's call for a new parliament to be elected more than a year ahead of schedule on the basis that his colleagues were not cooperating with the government on policy interventions.

"We have expelled Oli from the party on the grounds that he was not following the party rules and was working against collective decision-making," said Pampha Bhusal, a senior leader of the faction opposing Oli.

Surya Thapa, an aide to Oli, said the expulsion held no political meaning and that Oli was confident of a legal and political victory.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Rupam Jain, Kenneth Maxwell and Barbara Lewis)