KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A former Maoist guerrilla who led a decade-long uprising against Nepal’s Hindu monarchy was appointed prime minister for the third time on Sunday.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who still uses the name Prachanda, which means “terrible” or “fierce,” has won a five-year term in office with the support of the opposition Communist Party United Marxist-Leninists. It is the (UML) party and several other smaller groups that will lead the new government for the first half, party officials said.
“He was appointed and has the support of a majority of parliament,” Tika Dhakal, an aide to President Vidya Devi Bhandari, told Reuters.
Prachanda, the successor to Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepalese Parliamentary Party, will step down in 2025, making way for the UML to take over the office, local media reported.
Dev Gurung, general secretary of the Maoist Center Party in Prachanda, told Reuters after the new coalition’s meeting, “This is the understanding. The rest of the work of distribution to key other posts and ministries It’s not resolved yet,” he said.
The new coalition came to power hours after Prachanda 68 surprisingly emerged from the ruling coalition led by Deuba of the Nepalese Parliamentary Party. Deuba refused to endorse Prachanda for the job of prime minister.
Deuba and Prachanda both campaigned in the November elections, promising to keep the old alliance intact for years.
The Maoist Center Party, led by Prachanda, won 32 seats in the 275-member House of Representatives. The UML has 78 seats for him, and the remaining seats required for 138 seats are managed by smaller groups.
The Nepalese Parliamentary Party will be the main opposition party with 89 seats.
Analysts said Prachanda was unlikely to bring stability to the country because of its many coalition partners. He also faces serious economic challenges.
Inflation is over 8%, the highest in six years. Sandwiched between China and India, Nepal is also facing declining foreign exchange reserves and increasing reliance on imports for basic commodities.
Former central bank governor Deefendra Bahadur Kshetri told Reuters that the economy is unlikely to grow as the political unrest will destabilize investments and businesses.
Nepal has had 10 changes of government since 2008, when the 239-year monarchy was abolished.
Reported by Gopal Sharma. Compilation by Mayank Bhardwaj and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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