Kathmandu: Nepal’s parliament on Monday elected Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala as the new prime minister with a two-thirds majority , almost three months after the general elections on 19 November.
Although his party does not have a majority in parliament 74-year-old bachelor got 405 of the 553 votes cast in the 601-member parliament while 148 lawmakers cast their vote against him.
Koirala, who belongs to the extended Koirala family from which three prime ministers have come including Girija Prasad Koirala who signed the peace deal with the Maoists in 2006, has been actively involved in politics for the last five decades and is known for his simple life-style and nationalistic views.
He hails from the western Nepal city of Nepalganj near the Nepal India border, lives in a rented house in Kathmandu and has not held any public office before this.
Koirala’s election as the new prime minister became a certainty on Sunday following an agreement between the Nepali Congress and the UML, the second largest party. The UML dropped its earlier stance that there also be a vote for a new president and vice president since the incumbent President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and Vice President Parmanada Jha have been in office for more than five years.
In a seven-point agreement the two largest pastries decided to draft a new constitution and old fresh elections for the president and vice president within a year.
Speaking in parliament before the vote Koirala said that he was committed to help prepare new constitution within a year and hold local elections within six months although there is no provision in the interim constitution for such polls.
Talking to media after being elected prime minister Koirala said that discussions are going on for the formation of the coalition government. The UML expected to get the powerful home ministry portfolio and the deputy prime ministership.
The Maoists and the pro-Hindu pro-monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, the third and fourth biggest parties, voted against Koirala’s candidacy and will remain in opposition.