New Delhi: Senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel has been elected the new President of Nepal.
In the voting that took place for the third head of State of the country, Ram Chandra Poudel was elected to the post with 33,802 votes. Paudel defeated CPN-UML Vice-chair Subash Chandra Nembang, who got 15,518 votes.
The UML is the second-largest party in Parliament and was a member of the ruling alliance until February 27.
It decided to pull out of the Government after its then partner, the Maoist Centre, refused to support a UML nominee for President.
The UML’s request to the Maoist Centre was based on their purported December 25, 2022, agreement, which made Maoist centre chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prime Minister for the third time.
The President is elected by an electoral college consisting of the members of the Federal Parliament (House of Representatives and the National Assembly) and the Provincial Assembly.
A total of 313 members of the Federal Parliament and 518 provincial assembly members took part in the voting on March 9, reports said.
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Poudel was a joint candidate of CPN (Maoist Center), CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party Nepal, Janmat Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party, Rashtriya Janamorcha and Nepal Samajbadi Party along with his party, the Nepali Congress.
The term of the incumbent, Bidya Devi Bhandari, is set to be completed on March 12. An aide to President Bhandari said she is also preparing to move out of Sheetal Niwas, the President’s office.
“And if the Government asks her to vacate the office early, she is ready for that too,” the aide said, according to media reports.
Analysts say although the post of President is largely ceremonial, Nepal’s political parties have lately shown a growing interest in the post owing to the discretionary powers the constitution accords to the office.