Nepal elects Ram Chandra Paudel as the new president

Kathmandu, Mar 9 (EFE).- Nepal Thursday elected Ram Chandra Paudel, a senior leader of the Nepali Congress, as the country’s third president, following a period of intense political turbulence and changes in the ruling coalition.

Paudel secured 33,802 votes by weightage from an Electoral College of 52,628, the poll panel said.

His rival Subas Nembang, of the Communist Party of the Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), got 15,518 votes.

The Electoral College comprises the members of the House of Representatives (lower house), National Assembly (upper house), and seven provincial assemblies to elect the head of state.

Nepal’s parliament has 884 members, including 275 members of the House of Representatives, 59 of the National Assembly, and 550 of provincial assemblies.

Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya presented Chandra-Paudel with the certificate of his election to the post.

The newly-elected president will take the oath of office on Monday.

The presidential election followed a dramatic turn of political events that led to the division in the ruling alliance of CPN-UML and the Maoist Center.

The CPN-UML, led by the former prime minister, KP Sharma Oli, was angered by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s decision to back the opposition Nepali Congress candidate for the presidential polls.

The CPN-UML walked out of the coalition.

Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, tied up with the Nepali Congress for a new ruling coalition with the largest group in the parliament.

The Maoist Center had a pre-poll alliance with the Nepali Congress before the last year’s general elections.

Paudel replaces Bidhya Devi Bhandari, the first woman elected president in 2015 and re-elected three years later.

Paudel will be Nepal’s third president since the end of the monarchy in 2008 and the second since the country’s constitution was approved in 2015.

The position of the head of state in the Himalayan country is largely symbolic, per the constitution, with most of the power in the hands of the prime minister. EFE


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