Prachanda becomes PM for the 2nd time

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Maoist chief Prachanda was elected by lawmakers as Nepal’s Prime Minister for a second time. The 61-year-old leader promised to lead the nation toward economic development and work as a bridge between communities following deadly protests over a divisive new Constitution.

Though Pushpa Kamal Dahal — better known by his nom de guerre ‘Prachanda’ — was the only contender for the top post, he had to go through the voting as the Constitution requires the Prime Minister to prove support of the majority lawmakers in the House. The CPN-Maoist Centre chief, known for his anti-India stance, was elected Prime Minister with 363 votes in favour and 210 against him. Out of the total 595 members, 22 did not vote. He was backed by the largest party in the House, Nepali Congress, constituents of the United Democratic Madhesi Front and the Federal Alliance and some other smaller parties.

Speaker Onsari Gharti announced Prachanda’s victory after the election.

Former Nepal PM K P Oli greets Prachanda

Former Nepal PM K P Oli greets Prachanda after announcing his resignation in Parliament.      Photo: Reuters

National consensus

Ahead of the election, Prachanda pledged to lead the nation toward economic development while moving ahead with the spirit of national consensus during his premiership. “I pledge that I will unite everyone in the country… I have a responsibility to solve this problem. I feel that I have been put forward as a candidate to work as a bridge between [communities],” he said.

Prachanda will take over as the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal. He has also become the first communist leader to become the Prime Minister twice. He was Prime Minister from 2008 to 2009 before a disagreement with the military over his attempt to sack the army chief brought his period to an end.

Support from Madhesis

The Prime Minister’s post had been left vacant since last month after CPN-UML chairman K.P. Sharma Oli tendered his resignation.

Prachanda won Wednesday’s vote after Nepali Congress and CPN Maoist Centre signed a three-point agreement with the Madhesi Front to secure support from the Madhesi parties.

As per the agreement, the government would implement the Madhesi Front’s demands that include acknowledging those killed during the Madhesi agitation as martyrs and providing free treatment to the injured besides amending the Constitution to redraw provincial boundary, while the Madhesi parties would support the new government. More than 50 people died in clashes between police and protesters in recent months.

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