Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ becomes Nepal’s prime minister for third time

Dahal, of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), will be prime minister for two-and-a-half years after which he will be succeeded by his erstwhile rival K.P. Oli of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)

December 28, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
PM Prachanda Nepal elections
Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at the oath taking ceremony on December 27, 2022. (Photo: via cmprachanda/Twitter)

On Monday, December 26, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as ‘Prachanda,’ was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Nepal by President Bidya Devi Bhandari at the President’s Office in Kathmandu. The leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), Dahal will return to office for his third stint as prime minister after 2008 and 2016. His two previous terms as prime minister were marked by instability, each lasting barely nine months.

An eight-member cabinet was also sworn in. Bishnu Poudel of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), Narayan Kaji Shrestha of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), and Rabi Lamichhane of the Rashtriya Swatantra Party were sworn in as deputy prime ministers.

The new prime minister of Nepal was congratulated by the governments of India, China, and Pakistan on Twitter.

In a turn of events unexpected by many in Nepal until Sunday, December 25, Dahal joined hands with political rival Khadga Prasad Oli of the CPN (UML). Dahal’s party had fought the elections as a part of a five-party alliance led by the Nepali Congress (NC) and its leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, which was in power until the polls on November 20. The NC, which is now the largest party in the parliament with 89 seats, will form the main opposition in the 275-members House of Representative. The CPN (UML) is the second largest party with 78 seats, followed by CPN (MC) with 32 seats.

Dahal’s Maoist Centre’s decision to withdraw from the alliance at the eleventh hour reportedly took place over a disagreement over premiership between him and Deuba, according to local media.

Dahal presented his claim to the seat of prime minister, supported by 169 members of the the House of Representatives, to the President on December 25, after which he was appointed as the head of the new government in Nepal according to Article 76(2) of the constitution. As many as seven old and new parties – CPN (UML), CPN (MC), Rashtriya Swatantra Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party,  Janata Samajwadi Party, Janamat Party, and Nagarik Unmukti Party – along with several independent lawmakers backed Dahal’s claim to the post.

Dahal will get to lead the government for two and a half years, after which Oli will take over as prime minister for the remainder of the five-year term.