Maoists Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai has been elected as Nepal’s new prime minister on Sunday, returning the former rebels to power after the Terai-based Madhesi alliance extended crucial support to end the political uncertainty plaguing the country.
India educated Bhattarai, who has a doctorate from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, polled 340 votes, while Nepali Congress rival R C Poudyal secured 235 votes.
The United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), the alliance of Madhesi parties that is the fourth largest political force in the Assembly, decided to support 57-year-old Bhattarai, who is considered a moderate face in the Maoist party.Most of the smaller fringe parties also supported Bhattarai. “Baburam Bhattarai secured 340 of the 574 votes cast, giving him a majority,” Speaker Subash Chandra Nemwang announced after the voting in the House.
President Ram Baran Yadav directed the Parliament to choose a new prime minister after Jhal Nath Khanal, who was elected premier after 17 rounds of polls in Parliament over a period of seven months on 3rd February, resigned on 14th August for failing to make “concrete” process in the peace process.
A beaming Bhattarai told reporters after being elected to the top post that his government “will give top priority to concluding the peace process and drafting a new constitution”.
Bhattarai said his “government will make efforts to forge national consensus on key issues.”
“I will work towards providing relief to the deprived class of the people”, said Bhattarai, who was the deputy prime Minister and finance minister in the government led by Maoist Chairman Prachanda in 2008.