KATHMANDU, Nepal — Nepal’s Parliament was dissolved on Saturday for the second time in five months, deepening a political crisis in the Himalayan nation as it struggles with a devastating Covid-19 outbreak.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari announced the move shortly after midnight, saying that new elections would be held in November. Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and various opposition groups have been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to form a government.
Opposition politicians expressed surprise, apparently daunted by the prospect of planning for an election while the coronavirus is wreaking havoc. Nepal, an impoverished nation of 30 million that borders India, has been recording about 7,000 new infections per day, and because testing is limited, experts believe that is a significant undercount.
“We may not be able to organize big rallies because of Covid right now,” said Prakash Sharan Mahat, an opposition leader. “But these sorts of unconstitutional and undemocratic acts will be challenged at the court of law again, and we will politically campaign across the country.”
dissolved the lower house in December after disputes within his coalition.
ruled that Mr. Oli had overstepped his powers and ordered Parliament reinstated. That put the prime minister in the uncomfortable position of facing a vote of confidence.
As expected, he lost that vote. But Ms. Bhandari, the president, tasked him with continuing to lead the government as the head of the largest party, with the expectation that he could assemble a majority within 30 days. On Friday, Mr. Oli recommended that she dissolve Parliament to pave the way for new elections.
Opposition lawmakers said they had mustered enough votes by Friday to make one of their number, Sher Bahadur Deuba, the new prime minister, but supporters of Mr. Oli disputed that claim.
Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from New Delhi.