Kathmandu: Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled that deputy PM Rabi Lamichhane had stood for election with invalid citizenship papers, annulling his status as a lawmaker and effectively removing him from office. Lamichhane became deputy PM for home affairs - heading the ministry that oversees identity cards - in a seven-party alliance that took power last month.
A five-member constitutional panel of the highest court ruled that the 48-year-old had run in the November elections with a certificate of citizenship that was unlawful since he had renounced his US citizenship. Sunil Pokhrel, Lamichhane's attorney, stated that "he loses his ministerial position and there will be a by-election in his seat."
The departure of the minister was unlikely to affect the future of the ruling alliance, political analyst Krishna Khanal said. Lamichhane, who hosted a popular television show before entering politics, could not be immediately reached for comment. Pokhrel said Lamichhane will now seek to get a regular citizenship card and contest the by-election from the same constituency in south Nepal.