Deuba back in Baluwatar for fourth time

June 7, 2017 07:54 AM Ashok Dahal


KATHMANDU, June 6: Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur was  elected prime minister of the country on Tuesday. As Deuba becomes prime minister for the fourth time, he is also the country"s 40th head of government.

Deuba has become prime minister the second-most often after Girija Prasad Koirala in Nepal"s parliamentary history after  democracy was reinstated by the 1990 popular movement. Deuba is 10th prime minister since the abolition of monarchy and the third after the promulgation of the new constitution in September 2015.

Sole candidate in the prime ministerial race, Deuba secured 388 votes  from the total of 593 members of parliament. Of the  558 votes cast, 170 were against his candidacy. Altogether 35 lawmakers from various political parties did not vote.

Deuba, the president of the largest political party in  parliament, was backed by  third-largest party CPN (Maoist Center) and the agitating Madhes-based  parties. Three political parties in the UML-led opposition camp-- CPN (Marxist Leninist), Nepal Workers Peasants Party and Nepal Family Party-- didn"t vote. Four other parties voted against Deuba"a candidacy.

Deuba, who was removed by the king in humiliating fashion during the Maoist insurgency in 2005,  now returns as head of the government after 12 years.

With his election to the post, Deuba  faces the major task of holding the second phase  local polls in the remaining four provinces and then conducting elections for provincial assemblies and the central parliament, all within the constitutional deadline of January 2018.

“Holding three sets of elections, endorsing the constitution amendment bill, maintaining balanced relations with neighboring India and China and economic prosperity through development by inviting foreign investment will be my top priorities,” said Deuba while offering his candidacy in  parliament.

Deuba committed himself to amending the constitution during his tenure to address the demands of agitating Madhes-based political parties. “I express my sincere commitment to endorsing the constitution amendment bill, which is under discussion in this House, so as to garner broader acceptance of the constitution,” said Deuba.

Praising  outgoing Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal for handing over the government leadership as per the understanding reached between the two sides last year, Deuba lauded Dahal as a statesman.

Proposing Deuba as new prime minister, Dahal also said that he himself has set a new precedent in the country"s politics by becoming the proposer of his own successor.

“A sitting prime minister stepping down from  power and proposing his successor is something that has never  happened in Nepal before. And it is a rare practice in  world politics as well,” Dahal claimed. Highlighting that Deuba has become prime minister at the crucial time of implementing the new constitution, Dahal said he has an opportunity to prove himself.

“He was removed by the king during his previous tenure as  prime minister, but  history has given him yet another opportunity to institutionalize the changes in the country and prove himself,” said Dahal.

NC senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel, Nepal Loktantrik Forum Chairman Bijay Gachchhadar, Jaya Dev Joshi of CPN (Samyukta), Prem Bahadur Singh of Samajbadi Janata Party and Kumar Khadka of Akhanda Party seconded Deuba"s candidacy.

NC leader Paudel said that Deuba should focus during his tenure on institutionalizing the system in the country and accelerating economic prosperity and development activities .

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