Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli sacked the legislature in December, accusing members of his own party of non-cooperation.
Three former Nepalese prime ministers joined thousands of demonstrators on Friday to protest Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s abrupt decision to dissolve parliament and call early elections.
Oli removed the legislature in December, accusing members of his own party – including former rebels – of non-cooperation, and called for new elections in April.
The move plunged Nepal into new political uncertainty after years of instability, short-lived governments and earthquakes that devastated the country in 2015.
A senior police official said around 25,000 people gathered to protest near Oli’s office and more marches were planned in the Himalayan nation, which lies between India and China.
Former Maoist commander and Communist Party of Nepal (NCP) co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who led the 1996-2006 uprising, told protesters in Kathmandu that Oli was trying to “derail the peace process.”
“The elected parliament must be re-established,” he told the huge crowd, many of whom were waving red hammer and sickle flags.
Former prime ministers Dahal, who led a ten-year Maoist resistance that ended in 2006, and Jhal Nath Khanal, were also present at the rally.
The three former prime ministers are from Oli’s party but oppose the dissolution.
Oli’s government has also resisted accusations of corruption and criticism of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
But his decision to dissolve parliament came after months of clashes with Dahal, who helped Oli come to power when their political parties merged in 2018.
The two had previously clashed over their power-sharing deal and a lack of consultation.
Oli became prime minister after his NCP won the election three years ago.
Following the dissolution of parliament, two NCP factions informally split up and described themselves as the legitimate faction and claimed the party’s electoral symbol and name.
Legal experts said the hearing on Oli’s decision is expected to continue until February, with more than 300 lawyers registering to participate in the proceedings.