Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, UCPN-Maoist candidate elected 35th Prime Minister of Nepal, and the 4th Prime Minister in the post-CA election political scenario beating rival Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel. Dr. Bhattarai got 340 votes while Ram Chandra Poudel got 235 votes. Total votes cast were 575
Due to the death of some MPs and some being stripped of parliamentary membership, there are currently 594 MPs and the winner needed 298 votes to claim majority support. Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal has boycotted the House session today as the new House regulations do not allow the parliamentarians to stay neutral or cast neutral votes.
The Madhesi Morcha, five parties from the Terai plains who have 71 MPs supported Bhattarai, thereby clinching his victory. A fringe left party, Jana Morcha with five lawmakers, also supported Bhattarai.
Unlike the last polls that spanned over seven months and saw 17 rounds of voting in parliament, Sunday's election was decisive due to a change in poll regulations that prevented lawmakers from absenting themselves or staying neutral.
The Maoists, who after fighting a 10-year war signed a peace accord in 2006 and won the election in 2008, offered to disband their guerrilla army within 45 days of forming the new government under their leadership.
The existence of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), with its nearly 20,000 fighters even five years after the insurgency ended, is regarded as the main obstacle to the peace process and led to the fall of the first Maoist government of Nepal in 2009.
Dr. Bhattarai is regarded as the moderate face of the Maoists, whose chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda failed to return to power after backtracking on his promise to demobilise the PLA, return the properties captured by the rebels during the civil war, and end the culture of impunity that saw both the state and Maoists carry out torture and extrajudicial killings.
Dr. Bhattarai will face an acid test soon.
Three days later parliament needs to enforce a new constitution or face dissolution.
This post was written by: PBC
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