Kathmandu, Aug. 15
After gruelling power sharing negotiations for nearly four months, ultimately Puspa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), was elected the first Prime Minister of the Republic Nepal on Friday.
Garnering 464 votes (over 80 per cent) out of 577 cast votes, Prachanda was elected to the coveted post defeating Nepali Congress (NC) candidate Sher Bahadur Deuba who got 113 votes, one more than the party holds currently.
"I am very excited at this moment," Prachanda said in his short comment before the journalists at his residence, Nayabazar after he was elected to the post. He emerged from the CA meeting hall with garlands and vermillion powder on his forehead. Maoist lawmakers and other supporters had cheered slogans in his support, as he exited the CA hall after being elected.
CA chairman Subash Nemwang handed over the result of prime ministerial election to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav after today’s CA meeting was over. Prachanda will be sworn-in by the President on Monday.
Outgoing Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, emerging from the voting, said, "I am happy in this democratic process." Defeated candidate Deuba also said that he was happy as the Maoists had come to a democratic process.
Seventeen CA members abstained from the election held at the legislative meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA) this evening. Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Rastriya Janashakti Party and Janamorcha Nepal led by Chitra Bahadur K.C. had, earlier, announced that they would not take part in the election.
After the CA chairman Nemwang announced Prachanda was elected to the post of Prime Minister, outgoing Prime Minister Koirala went to Prachanda’s seat and congratulated him. Then other leaders of different political parties also extended congratulations to Prachanda in the meeting hall. There was a crowd of his well wishers in his residence until late evening.
Vote separation system of election was followed in the election according to which the voting for the first candidate Sher Bahadur was conducted first and voting for Prachanda was conducted in the second phase.
Eight political parties including CPN-UML, Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF), Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi), Communist Party of Nepal (Ekata Kendra), Janamukti Party, CPN (United), Nepa: Rastriya Party and Nepali Janata Dal had supported his candidacy.
Delivering their speech during the proposing and seconding the candidacy of Prachanda, leaders of those parties stated that they supported Prachanda as per the people’s mandate.
UML general secretary Jhalanath Khanal said that UML supported Prachanda’s candidacy respecting people’s mandate. "CPN-Maoist has expressed commitment to implement all past agreements reached among the seven parties and follow democratic process in the new government," he said pleading the reasons for the support to the CPN-Maoist.
Khanal said that the national government could not be formed after NC refused to join a Maoist-led government at the last hour even after it was offered Defence Ministry, which NC had been claiming for.
"We hope people would enjoy all fundamental rights without any infringement and day to day problems of people after the new government is in place," he said.
"As others, I also have some suspicions over the CPN-Maoist, which came to the mainstream from 10 years of violent revolution, so the party should exhibit democratic exercise to the optimum extent so that no one would get a chance to charge the Maoists of being undemocratic," Khanal noted.
Upendra Yadav of MJF said that they were serious about the mobilisation of security organs of the government as the CPN-Maoist had assured to follow democratic process and earlier agreements.
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, the second-in-command of the CPN-Maoist, announced party’s four-point commitment to justify Prachanda’s candidacy. They include ending paramilitary activities of the Young Communist League (YCL), returning all private and public properties seized during the conflict, renouncement of any responsibilities of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by individuals elected as CA members and ending all kinds of parallel mechanisms of the government established during the conflict.
He said that the commitments would be implemented at the earliest possible preparing a timetable.
Dr. Bhattarai criticised Nepali Congress of being status quoits and said, "The sky won’t fall in the absence of NC, which has only 19 per cent strength in the CA." He said that NC unveiled the reality of its unwillingness to join the Maoist-led government on Thursday which showed that it was against the idea of a national government.
Narayayankaji Shrestha (Prakash), Chandredev Joshi of CPN (United), Malbar Singh Thapa of Janamukti Party, Buddha Ratna Manandhar of Nepa: Rastriya Party, and Gayatri Saha of Nepali Janata Dal had also highlighted the relevance of Maoist-led government in their support speech to the Prachanda’s candidacy.
Earlier, Ram Chandra Poudel, proposer of NC’s candidate Sher Bahadur Deuba, tabling the proposal of candidacy accused the Maoists of excluding the NC intentionally from consensual politics and creating political polarisation. He came heavily against Maoists and expressed suspicion over Maoist’s future role in mobilising government security agencies, judiciary and bureaucracy.
NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi accused the Maoists that they had not returned the property of 1,400 families which also includes a number of leaders of different parties including Binaya Dhoj Chand, Amrit Kumar Bohara, Kul Bahadur Gurung and Sher Bahadur Deuba.
"The Maoist leaders spoke liberally in public but did not want to share power ministries including Defence, Finance and Home with NC," he noted.