By Mohan Khadka
The legislature parliament on Sunday elected UCPN (Maoist) vice chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai as the 35th Prime Minister of Nepal.
Dr Bhattarai is also the second prime minister of the country from the Maoist party since the peace process began in 2006. He got elected to the top executive post after defeating his rival, Nepali Congress parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel, in the election held at the parliament Sunday evening.
Bhattarai received 340 votes while Poudel received 235 votes. Altogether 575 lawmakers participated in the voting.
In addition to his party UCPN (Maoist) which has 237 lawmakers in the 595-member Constituent Assembly, United Democratic Madhesi Front with 65 lawmakers and few fringe parties had also supported Bhattarai.
The prospects of Bhattarai began looking brighter after the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), which has a decisive voting bloc pledged to vote for him earlier in the morning.
NC’s PM candidate Ram Chandra Poudel was supported by the UML and few other parties in the voting, but it was far lower to put up a strong challenge to Bhattarai.
Voting for the Prime Minister had started in the legislature parliament after the lawmakers from different parties including the independent ones finished presenting their arguments on the PM candidates.
Pro-monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-Nepal), which has been organising series of protests demanding dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, boycotted the election process.
The election of Bhattarai’s to the top executive post has provided a new ray of hope to the people of the country for constitution and lasting peace especially considering, as political observers say, the “flexibility” shown by his party on their constitution and peace road map floated on Thursday.
Erstwhile Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal’s six-month old government had come to an end earlier this month after he tendered his resignation on August 14.
Baburam Bhattarai was born in a village called Belbas in Khoplang VDC of Gorkha District on May 26, 1954. He was born in a low - middle class peasant family and completed his secondary school education from Amar Jyoti Janata Secondary School in Luintel, Gorkha. He scored the highest marks among total examinees in SLC examination conducted in 1970 and topped the I.Sc board again in Amrit Science Campus, Kathmandu. He later completed his PhD degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) in 1986. His Ph.D. thesis was later published as a book "The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal- A Marxist Analysis".
He had earlier served as the finance minister in the first Maoist government led by party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal following the Constituent Assembly election through which the Maoists emerged as the largest party in the CA. nepalnews.com