Maoist chief Prachanda was on Wednesday 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’ (the fierce one) — 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 voting.
Ahead of the election, Prachanda had pledged to lead the nation toward economic development while moving ahead with the spirit of national consensus during his premiership.
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.
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 Madhes 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday spoke to Prachanda to congratulate him and assured India’s full support. During the telephonic conversation, Mr. Modi also invited him to India.
“Spoke to Nepal’s PM-elect Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ ji & congratulated him. Assured him of our full support & invited him to India,” he tweeted.