Nepalese opposition lawmakers filed a no-confidence motion today against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli after former rebel Maoists quit his coalition, triggering fresh political turmoil in the quake-hit nation.
The former guerrillas announced on Tuesday that they were withdrawing support for Oli`s government, leaving his coalition without a majority.
After Oli refused to resign, opposition lawmakers from the Nepali Congress and the Maoists filed a motion against the embattled premier in parliament, an official told AFP.
"A no-confidence motion against the PM has been registered, 280 members have signed it," said Parliament spokesman Bharat Gautam.
According to procedure, Oli will now have a week to secure support for a majority government before Parliament hosts discussions and a possible vote on the motion, Gautam said.
Oli`s Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) currently holds 175 elected seats in Parliament, far fewer than the 299 needed to win a vote of confidence.
The Maoists joined the government last October, weeks after Nepal adopted a divisive new national constitution.
Cracks began to appear in the coalition two months ago when they threatened to topple Oli.
Oli survived that attempt by drawing up an 11th-hour deal with Maoist chief, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known by his nom-de-guerre Prachanda.
But Dahal later pulled out of the coalition, citing the government`s failure to implement the agreement to withdraw civil war cases from Nepal`s courts and offer amnesties to people accused of abuses during the decade-long Maoist insurgency which ended in 2006.
Since becoming premier, Oli has faced fierce criticism over his handling of protests against the new charter, which triggered a months-long border blockade in southern Nepal by demonstrators from the Madhesi ethnic minority.
More than 50 people died in clashes between police and protesters, who said the constitution left them politically marginalised.
Kathmandu accused New Delhi of imposing an "unofficial blockade" on the impoverished landlocked nation in support of the Madhesis, who share close cultural and family links with Indians across the border.
The new constitution, the first drawn up by elected representatives, was meant to cement peace and bolster Nepal`s transformation to a democratic republic after decades of political instability.
But ongoing discussions between the government and protesters over the charter have failed to yield agreement.