Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari dissolved the country's parliament Saturday and announced that new elections will be held in November.
The elections are slated to take place between Nov. 12 and 18.
The announcement marks the second dissolution of the country's parliament in five months.
The move was announced shortly after midnight, prompting surprised and critical reactions from opposition politicians who raised concerns about organizing an election amid the coronavirus crisis.
Nepal has been recording about 7,000 new coronavirus infections per day, which experts say is likely a dramatic undercount due to a shortage of testing equipment.
Opposition groups have said the president's move is an act of favoritism toward prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli, who had recommended Parliament be disbanded Friday.
Oli dissolved the lower house of Parliament after disputes within his coalition, prompting widespread protests.
In February Nepal's Supreme Court ruling that Oli had overstepped his powers and ordered that parliament be reinstated.
Oli then lost a vote of confidence by parliament but Bhandari kept him in power, with Oli taking a new oath of office last week.
Opposition groups have said they have the votes to replace Oli, and had previously warned that they would launch widespread protests if he is retained.
Nepal's President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has dissolved the parliament on Friday midnight and had ordered fresh polls to take place in the six months. pic.twitter.com/ncFChq7Iy3— Prasar Bharati News Services पी.बी.एन.एस. (@PBNS_India) May 22, 2021
"We may not be able to organize big rallies because of Covid right now," Prakash Sharan Mahat, an opposition leader, said. "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."
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright © UPI, 2021. All Rights Reserved.