Nepal's legislature-parliament on Sunday elected Baburam Bhattarai, Vice-Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), new Prime Minister. The Maoists were supported by the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), an alliance of five Madhesi parties. In the House of 594 MPs, 575 members participated in the election and around 340 voted for Dr. Bhattarai, helping him secure a simple majority.
The other candidate, Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel, got 235 votes. The NC was supported by the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist).
Proposing Dr. Bhattarai's name, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda' said: “Baburamji is known for his intellect, his sacrifices during the People's War, and his appeal spreads across classes. The party's decision to nominate him has created a new unity.”
Dr. Bhattarai told Parliament, “Even though this will be a majority government, our ultimate goal is creating a national unity government with the common agenda of peace and Constitution.”
NC and UML leaders said they had no reason to trust the Maoists. Mr. Poudel told the House: “The NC is totally committed to democracy and democratic principles. The Maoists have constantly breached past agreements and continue to retain their military apparatus.”
The UML said it had not received a credible and acceptable peace process proposal from the Maoists. The Maoist victory was made possible, thanks to a last minute ‘four-point agreement' with the Madhesi parties on fundamental issues of ‘peace, constitution and functioning of a joint government'. The Maoists agreed to ‘positively revise' their proposal for the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants.
An alumnus of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr. Bhattarai has been in the Left movement for three decades.