15 August : Maoist chief Prachanda, who waged a decade-long armed struggle against monarchy, was on Friday elected as Nepal’s first republican Prime Minister as he swept a landmark vote in the Constituent Assembly in a one-sided race.Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, 53, trounced his Nepali Congress rival and three-time premier Sher Bahadur Deuba by bagging 464 votes out of the 577 cast in the 601-strong Assembly, receiving the backing of another major Left party the CPN(UML) and the Terai-based Madhesi Rights People’s Forum.
"The day will be written in golden letters in the history of the nation," Prachanda’s second-in-command Baburam Bhattari said.
Assembly Chairman Subash Nemwang announced that Deuba had got 113 votes, indicating that the party was completely isolated, a turn of fortune from last month when the Maoists found themselves in a similar situation in the presidential poll which saw a victory for Nepali Congress’ Ram Baran Yadav.
The Nepali Congress, which had dominated the country’s polity since the restoration of democracy in 1990, fielded Deuba, as talks on forming a consensus government collapsed after four months of bitter wrangling over powersharing.
It is a major triumph for the former rebels who won a surprise victory in the 10th April polls, two years after joining a peace process, and succeeded in getting the 240-year-old monarchy abolished by a Constituent Assembly resolution in April.
Prachanda’s predecessor G P Koirala of Nepali Congress has already resigned under pressure from Maoists.With Prachanda at helm, the Maoists are expected to get nine portfolios including the key ministries of Finance, Defence and Foreign Affairs, highly placed sources said. Courtsey DDINEWS