09 March 2023

Nepal elects new president amid political uncertainty

09 March 2023

Politicians in Nepal have elected a new president.

It comes as the Himalayan nation faces increasing political instability with a fragile coalition government that has been in power for only a few months.

Ram Chandra Poudel, a former parliament speaker and senior leader of the opposition Nepali Congress party, was declared winner on Thursday after five hours of voting, beating his lone opponent Subash Chandra Nembang.

The president is largely a figurehead with little political power.

But the election triggered a feud among partners in the governing alliance headed by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who took office in December.

Mr Dahal backed Mr Poudel, angering his main coalition partner, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), which backed Mr Nembang, its own candidate.

The party has since pulled out of the coalition, threatening Mr Dahal’s control.

Mr Dahal has now lost the support of three key political parties which were part of his initial coalition government.

A total of 884 members of the federal parliament and provincial assemblies gathered in the capital, Kathmandu, to vote for the new president.

It is only the third time a new president has been elected since the country abolished its centuries-old monarchy in 2008 and became a republic.

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