The aftershocks of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s decision last month to dissolve the lower house of Nepal’s Parliament and call for early elections are still being felt throughout the country. Oli’s controversial move, designed to thwart growing demands for him to leave office, has been widely criticized—including within his own Nepal Communist Party, or NCP—for contravening Nepal’s 2015 constitution. His insistence on maintaining power marks a potentially dangerous juncture along Oli’s drift toward authoritarianism, and could reverse democratic gains Nepal has made since its 10-year civil war ended in 2006.

The latest episode in Nepal’s roiling politics was entirely predictable. Oli took power in 2018, after campaigning in the previous year’s elections on a staunchly nationalist platform. The NCP and its fellow leftists in the Maoist party were able to capitalize on a wave of anti-Indian sentiment…

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