Nepal ruling party splits

Nepal’s ruling party of ex-Maoist rebels and fellow communists split on Tuesday after the top election body ruled its name was unlawful, pushing the country into further political uncertainty.

The Himalayan nation has been roiled by months of turmoil after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli dissolved Parliament in December and accused members of his Nepal Communist Party (NCP) of being uncooperative.

The NCP was formed in 2018 following a merger between Mr. Oli’s communist party CPN-UML and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) of former rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

But the party had no right to the NCP name, the Supreme Court ruled on Sunday because another, separate communist faction was already using it.

On Tuesday the Election Commission concurred, and said it had “dismissed” Mr. Oli’s NCP — which had held a rare two-thirds parliamentary majority — from the electoral register.

CPN (Maoist Centre) member Girirajmani Pokharel said the dissolution had sparked discussions in his faction of the party about “whether to withdraw support from the government”.

No decision has been made, he added.

The NCP’s triumph over the incumbent Nepali Congress party — the third major political force in the country — had been seen as the final step in Nepal’s post-war transformation into a republic.

Brittle alliances have been struck between Nepal’s three dominant parties since 2008, and there was hope a majority government would bring stability and much-needed development to the nation.

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