2018 Vishwamitran constitutional coup

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2018 Vishwamitran constitutional coup
Date13–14 May 2018
Location
Result

Abolition of the republic

  • Suspension of the constitution
  • Suspension of the parliament
  • Resignation of President Anoushkaa Patranabish
    • Creation of office of Supreme Leader
Belligerents
Vishwamitra Vishwamitra
Commanders and leaders
Anoushkaa Patranabish (President)
Sarala Baishya (Chief Justice)
Dhrubajyoti Roy (Prime Minister)
Tanishkaa Patranabish (Deputy Prime Minister)

The 2018 Constitutional Coup took place in Vishwamitra, then known as the Friends Society on the night of 13 May 2018 and continued till the next day, 14 May. The series of event began following the re-election of Prime Minister Dhrubajyoti Roy in the March 2018 general election in which the Friends Societal Congress emerged as the largest party in the parliament. The establishment of the armed forces and the establishment of the Ministry of Defence became a significant stand on the wake of the constitutional coup.

History

Vishwamitra, formerly Friends Society was a parliamentary republic with the Prime Minister being at the helm of power while the President being a mere figurehead. The general election of March 2018 resulted in an overwhelming victory of Dhrubajyoti Roy-led Friends Societal Congress to power for a second consecutive term. In mid-May, the government approved the creation of honorary armed forces and named prime minister Dhrubajyoti Roy as a Marshal of the Armed Forces, while awarded other OF-9 equivalent ranks of General, Admiral and Chief Marshall to Tanishkaa Patranabish, Sarala Baishya and Anoushkaa Patranabish respectively.

Events

On 13 May 2018, prime minister Dhrubajyoti Roy arrived at the Rajya Niwas Beltola, the residence of then president Anoushkaa Patranabish and deputy prime minister Tanishkaa Patranabish for a private-cum-official visit. He met the president, the deputy prime minister and also chief justice Sarala Baishya on matters related to the state and its development. After the meeting, the official ceremony of granting of honorary military ranks took place.

In the early hours of the following day, on 14 May 2018, prime minister Dhrubajyoti Roy held second rounds of meeting with the president and soon after the meeting, it was announced that the president had approved the indefinite suspension of the constitution and had prorogued the parliament. Moments later, it was announced that the president had announced her resignation and that the prime minister had self-declared himself as the "Supreme Leader" and assumed all administrative duties of the nation as head of state.

In his first act as supreme leader, he nominated outgoing president Anoushkaa Patranabish as the Deputy Supreme Leader; his former deputy Tanishkaa Patranabish as the President of the Council of Ministers, Sarala Baishya as the Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers and a council of ministers comprising of both executive and non-executive ministers and parliamentary secretaries. It was also during this ministry that the Ministry of Defence was formed and Abhiraj Kar was named as the first occupant.

On 3 June 2018, a ceremony was held at the Rashtra Niwas complex where he was formally installed as the Supreme Leader and subsequently administered oath of office of the other appointees.

Aftermath

Months of the constitutional coup, the supreme court which was headed by Chief Justice Sarala Baishya met for the first time on 11 September 2018 to assess the legality and legitimacy of the existing government. Ahead of the court meeting, the suspension on the constitution was withdrawn by the supreme leader paving way for the court to deliver its judgment. Much to the surprise of the people, the court announced a verdict which was not in the favour of the existing administration. The court cited that the administration was established without following any legal and constitutional procedure and thus should no longer continue to exist. The court sent a notice to Supreme Leader Dhrubajyoti Roy to step down from his office and temporarily name a successor and also provided him to get constitutionally elected by the parliament to remain in office as head of state.

As directed by the court, Dhrubajyoti Roy named Deputy Supreme Leader Anoushkaa Patranabish as the acting head of state who remained in office for a few minutes until he could be elected formally by the members of the parliament. As the parliament was dominated by members of the ruling coalition, it was an easy task for Roy to seek an election as President. Soon after his election as president, he was sworn-in to office by the chief justice herself. Tanishkaa Patranabish was also sworn-in as the Speaker of the National Assembly.

On 12 October, the President formally appointed his first executive cabinet in which he appointed himself as the Minister of Finance.

November election

Since the election of president Dhrubajyoti Roy by the parliament on 11 September 2018 was only short-termed, an election took place on 25 November 2018 to formally elect a president. Two candidates - sitting president Dhrubajyoti Roy and the Speaker of the National Assembly Tanishkaa Patranabish were in the fray in which sitting president Roy won the election winning 70.5% of the total votes polled defeating his rival. Later on, he appointed Anoushkaa Patranabish as the vice-president and his rival candidate Tanishkaa Patranabish as the prime minister. All elected and appointed office-holders took over on 7 January 2019. Dhrubajyoti Roy remained as executive president until March 2019 when the ombudsman report established a semi-presidential system in the nation.