While Nepal is grappling with political unrest over the new Constitution, veteran Communist leader Khagda Prasad Sharma Oli was sworn in as Nepal’s 38th Prime Minister on October 12.
He comfortably defeated former premier and Nepali Congress chief Sushil Koirala in voting held in Parliament on October 11. Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) chairman Oli garnered 338 votes, 39 more than the 299 that he needed to be elected as prime minister while Koirala could secure only 249 votes. A total of 587 members cast their votes.
Prime Minister Oli also has formed a small Cabinet incorporating two Deputy Prime Ministers Bijay Kumar Gachhadar and Kamal Thapa and five ministers.
Nepal has always had a rapid turnover of prime ministers and it is difficult to predict how long the latest incumbent’s tenure may be. Oli will now have to deal with challenges like protests and blockade of a key border trade point with Bharat over the country’s new Constitution.
Nepal is suffering from many crises. Madhesis have staged weeks of demonstrations which have hampered the flow of fuel and other goods from Bharat. Landlocked Nepal is completely dependent on Bharat for many things. The blockade by protesters at a vital border checkpoint has sparked a nationwide shortage. The new Constitution was promulgated two weeks ago, but sparked protests in the plains, resulting in more than 40 deaths.
Meanwhile Bharat’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae met with newly elected PM Oli and discussed issues related to both countries. The ties between Bharat and Nepal reached a low during a recent standoff after agitating Madhesi based political parties staged protest and demonstration at key Nepal-Bharat entry points.
Nepal Prime Minister Oli said that he wants to see and develop better relations with Bharat, with whom Nepal shares common culture and history.
Bharat and China Hold Joint Military Exercise
On October 12, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Bharateeya Army began a joint counter-terrorism exercise, code named Hand-in-Hand 2015, at Kunming Military Academy in Yunnan province located in southwestern China.