The Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal (JSP-N) and CPN-UML applied for registration of a new party at the Election Commission on Wednesday after the government amended the Political Party Act through an ordinance.

The Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal faction of UML have formed a new party called CPN-UML Socialist. Similarly, the Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato faction of JSP-N also applied for registration of a new party called Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal (Democratic).

Both the parties have yet to come up with their symbol.

According to Nepal-Khanal faction leader Rajendra Pandey, 28.57 per cent of the 203-member central committee of the UML signed the petition to split from the party.

Another leader of the Nepal-Khanal faction Birodh Khatiwada said that out of the 95-member central committee of the faction, 58 signed the petition to form a new party.

Some leaders including Yubaraj Gyawali, Astalaxmi Shakya, Amrit Bohara, Bhim Rawal, Ghanashyam Bhusal, Gokarana Bista, and Surendra Prasad Pandey, earlier close to the Nepal-Khanal faction, decided to switch sides at the last hour.

The Cabinet led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba passed an ordinance related to Political Party Act on Tuesday and it was endorsed by Presidnet Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday.

The ordinance allows a split in a political party with the support of just 20 percent central committee members or parliamentary party members.

The latest move by the Deuba-led government was aimed at benefiting the Nepal-Khanal faction of CPN-UML, whose support is crucial for the government’s survival.

Since the Nepal-Khanal faction lacked 40 per cent support in both the parliamentary party and the central committee, the ordinance has facilitated UML’s split and the Nepal-Khanal faction can split the party without losing parliamentary seats.

The government’s move to bring the ordinance within 24 hours of abruptly proroguing the Parliament has been opposed not only by opposition UML but also by the leaders of the ruling Nepali Congress.

Former attorney general Agni Prasad Kharel said the ordinance violated the Supreme Court’s verdict delivered recently in the case challenging the citizenship ordinance issued by the Oli government.

In the case challenging the citizenship ordinance, the Supreme Court had observed that the government should not issue an ordinance unless it was extremely necessary. It had also said that issuing an ordinance to accrue political benefits by evading the Parliament could lead to a situation where powers of the Parliament could be unnecessarily infringed upon.