Last Update: March 09, 2023, 18:58 IST
Amid a bitter crisis in its ruling coalition, Nepal on Thursday elected a social democrat as its third president as the Himalayan nation ended a centuries-old monarchy.
The election of Ram Chandra Paudel, 78, comes after a split in the Communist-dominated ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a former Maoist rebel chief.
Last month, Dahal had supported Paudel, a candidate from the opposition Nepali Congress party fielded by their main coalition partner, the Communist Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) Party.
The UML has since withdrawn support from the prime minister, requiring him to face a vote of confidence this month.
Party officials said Dahal is expected to form a new alliance with the Nepali Congress Party and other smaller groups in the next two weeks.
He is already in the middle of another crisis, as the Supreme Court will hear a petition seeking his arrest and an inquiry into his leadership during the decades-long civil war that killed thousands before it ended in 2006 Was.
State-run Nepal Television said Paudel, a former speaker of parliament, was elected with a majority of 566 members of both houses of parliament and seven provincial assemblies, defeating his rival Subas Chandra Nemwang of the UML party.
The president is required to play a largely ceremonial role, although it can play an important role during times of political crisis.
Analysts say the biggest challenge for the new president is maintaining an unbiased constitutional role.
Constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari said, “The president is not expected to act independently nor be a separate power centre.” “In most cases the President must act with the recommendation and concurrence of the Prime Minister.”
Paudel, a veteran politician, replaces Vidya Devi Bhandari, who retires next week at the end of her five-year term.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)