Ex-guerrilla leader Prachanda sworn in as Nepal’s new PM

Kathmandu, Dec 26 (EFE).- Nepal’s former leftist guerrilla leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known by his nom de guerre “Prachanda,” was sworn in as the new prime minister of the Himalayan republic on Monday.

Prachanda, meaning “fierce,” was named the prime minister-elect on Sunday before President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to him a day later.

The 68-year-old former communist guerrilla leader replaces Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Dahal cobbled a legislative majority in the newly elected 275-member lower house of parliament with the support of the opposition Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) and some other smaller groups.

He will have to prove his majority in the House of Representatives.

But he will head the government only for the first half of the five-year term before making way for UML leader, KP Sharma Oli, to govern the country for the next two-and-half years.

Dahal, who became the prime minister for the third time, will lead the alliance of seven political parties and three independent lawmakers.

Eight ministers took the oath with Prachanda.

They include two from the CPN (Maoist Center), four from the UML, and one each from the Rastriya Swatantra Party and the Janamat Party.

The prime minister has appointed three deputy prime ministers.

Dahal successfully led a decade-long insurgency against Nepal’s more than 230-year-old Hindu monarchy before he quit the armed revolt and joined mainstream politics in 2006.

He served as Nepal’s prime minister in 2008 when Maoists emerged as the largest party.

Dahal resigned in May 2009 after attempting to fire the then-army leader, General Rookmangud Katawal, a decision rejected by the then-President, Ram Baran Yadav.

In August 2016, he was elected prime minister of Nepal for the second time.

The civil war that ravaged the country from 1996 to 2006 claimed an estimated 15,000 lives.

Since then, rivalries between power factions have kept the Himalayan country in an unending institutional instability. EFE


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