The establishment faction of the CPN-UML led by party Chair KP Sharma Oli held its standing committee meeting and decided not to support the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government when he seeks a vote of confidence. Deuba, who was appointed the PM on July 13, will have to seek the vote of confidence by August 12.

The UML's establishment faction held the party's standing committee and parliamentary party meetings today, while the faction led by Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal boycotted the meeting.

UML Spokesperson Pradeep Kumar Gyawali told media persons after the standing committee meeting that the party concluded that it should not support the Deuba government because the government was formed undemocratically and unfairly.

He said the party also directed all its Lower House members not to vote for Deuba in the trust vote, but if anybody supported the Deuba government that would be their individual decision.

Twenty-six UML lawmakers from the Nepal-Khanal faction had supported Deuba's bid for prime ministership on May 21.

The standing committee also dissolved the 10-member taskforce to iron out differences between the two rival factions, but decided to adopt its proposal for party unity and implement it.

A press release issued by the party after the meeting disagreed with the Supreme Court's recent ruling in the House of Representatives dissolution case. It said the verdict had weakened the constitution, as well as the democratic, republican, and federal parliamentary political system. It added that the verdict was a violation of separation of powers and checks and balances.

The party said the best means for people to express their views and enable their representatives to rule the country was periodic elections. "But by calling the government's decision to seek a fresh mandate an autocratic move and the formation of a government without abiding by the values of a multi-party system a democratic step, the SC has pushed the democratic system into a wrong direction."

The party said that democracy could be saved only if all three organs of the state stayed within their limits.

The party said the SC ruling that parties' whips wouldn't apply to lawmakers supporting a candidate's bid for prime ministership under Article 76 (5) was against the basic values of a multi-party system.

"Such an interpretation done with the aim of fulfilling certain person's certain ambitions has effectively amended the constitution," the UML said in its release.

UML said it would take its disagreements with the court verdict to the people for a debate.

The party said despite its disagreements with the court verdict, it would abide by it.

Earlier, five taskforce members close to Nepal and Khanal -- Bhim Rawal, Surendra Prasad Pandey, Gokarna Bista, Ghanashyam Bhusal, and Bhim Acharya -- went to the standing committee meeting and requested party Chair Oli to postpone the meetings of the standing committee and the parliamentary party and act as per the spirit of the taskforce's unity proposal.

But Oli refused to postpone the meetings. Leaders of the rival faction then walked out of the standing committee meeting.

Bhim Bahadur Rawal told mediapersons that Oli's recent remarks that he made from the balcony of his house in Balkot had further complicated the efforts to maintain party unity. Oli had accused Nepal of playing a role to dislodge his own party's government and form a new government under opposition leader. Oli also said there wouldn't be any place for Nepal in the party.

Gyawali said the party decided not to halt the standing committee meeting as it had already been postponed earlier and there was no reason for endlessly postponing party bodies' meetings.

Meanwhile, the UML parliamentary party also held its meeting here. Lawmakers associated with the Nepal-Khanal faction boycotted that also. UML Chief Whip Bishal Bhattarai said Oli told party lawmakers that the recent SC decision on the HoR dissolution case had misinterpreted the constitutional provisions and set a precedent in which the court dictated the process of appointing the prime minister, something that 'had never happened in the world before'.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 17 2021, of The Himalayan Times.