KATHMANDU, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) — Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, has been elected as the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal on Wednesday.
Nepal’s Parliament elected Dahal as the head of the government nearly two weeks after Prime Minister K.P Sharma Oli stepped down from the post.
Dahal, 61, secured 363 votes to become the prime minister when 573 Parliamentarians cast ballots in the prime ministerial election. While, 210 Parliamentarians voted against him. He was the sole candidate in the PM elections.
Dahal secured majority votes as he was backed by the largest party in the Parliament, Nepali Congress, Madhes-based parties and some other fringe parties.
However, the CPN (UML), second largest party in the Parliament and fourth largest party Rashtriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPPN) voted against Dahal.
This is the second time Dahal became the prime minister since his Maoist party joined the mainstream politics in 2007 after signing the peace deal with the then government ending the 10-year armed conflict that started in 1996.
Dahal ended his nearly three-decade-long underground politics in 2006 when his party and other mainstream political parties became successful to compel the former King Gyanendra to end his direct regime after a successful people’s movement.
The Prachanda-led Maoist was able to become the largest force in the Nepalese Parliament in 2009.
However, his party emerged as the third largest party facing a humiliating defeat in the Second Constituent Assembly elections due to split within the party.
Married and with three children, Dahal was born into a high Brahmin caste family on Dec. 11, 1954 in Kaski district, some 140 km west of capital Kathmandu.
A former school teacher, Dahal once was a brilliant student and gained a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
The Dahal-led government, in which the Nepali Congress will be main coalition partner, has a long list of challenges and problems to be solved in Nepal.
Dahal, who played a key role in the promulgation of the new constitution in September last year, has many challenges as the new prime minister in the days to come.
Firstly, Dahal has to work toward effective implementation of the new Constitution by addressing genuine demands of Madhes-based parties who claim the new Constitution as discriminatory.
Secondly, it would be essential for Dahal taking confidence of other parties including opposition parties CPN (UML) and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party Nepal while implementing the new constitution.
Thirdly, Dahal has responsibility to speed up works rebuilding the damaged physical infrastructures shattered by the April 25 devastating earthquake last year that killed nearly 10,000 people. Similarly, he has to provide relief to tens and thousands of earthquake-hit people in far-flung villages of the country.
A Kathmandu-based political analyst, Somat Ghimire, told Xinhua that Dahal has also challenge to enhance cordial relationship with neighboring countries China and India as per the changed context.
“The new government has to work sincerely to implement the bilateral deals reached with Chinese government during the erstwhile Prime Minister K.P Sharma Oli’s visit to Beijing this year in March,” he said.
Ghimire said that the new government has also challenge to create conducive environment to hold the local bodies elections and provincial level elections as well as Parliamentary elections within February 2018 as per the constitutional provisions.
Addressing the Parliament, the newly-elected prime minister reiterated to resolve Madhes problem by addressing genuine demands raised by Madhes-based parties and expedite works related to post-earthquake reconstruction. Dahal also vowed to maintain excellent relationship with neighboring China and India.