KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s prime minister asked parliament for a vote of confidence on Monday in an attempt to show he still has enough support to stay in power despite an expected second split within his governing party.

Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli’s Nepal Communist Party split in March, forcing him to lead a minority government. Oli is likely to face another split in his party after a rival faction announced Monday it would not support him in the confidence motion.

“There is no reason why parliament members should not support me and vote for me,” Oli said in a speech to the legislature.

Members began debating the confidence motion on Monday. It was unclear when a vote would be held.

Oli is widely expected to lose because he currently does not have the support of a majority of lawmakers.

He has been criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Himalayan nation reporting its largest number of new cases and deaths in the past few days.

Advertising

Authorities have imposed a lockdown in most parts of the country since last month and are likely to extend it as hospitals report running out of beds, oxygen and medication.

Oli became prime minister after his party merged with another communist party composed of former Maoist rebels and won elections three years ago.

He has struggled over power, however, with the leader of the former rebels, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also co-chair of the party. Oli has refused to allow Dahal to succeed him as prime minister or lead the party, despite an earlier agreement to do so, causing divisions within the party.

Oli directed the dissolution of parliament in December and announced new elections this year.

The Supreme Court, however, reinstated parliament and canceled the new elections.