Ex-commander of PLA now VPParliament on Saturday elected Nanda Bahadur Pun, a former Maoist commander, as the country’s Vice President.
Parliament on Saturday elected Nanda Bahadur Pun, a former Maoist commander, as the country’s Vice President.
The 50-year-old secured 325 votes against 212 of Nepali Congress candidate Amiya Kumar Yadav. Ten votes were invalid.
After a secret ballot among lawmakers, Speaker Onsari Gharti announced Pun’s victory in a House meeting. Pun will take the oath of office from the President on Sunday.
The voting process that started at 11am concluded on 2pm. The vote was counted in the following two hours. Though there are currently 597 members in the 601-strong Parliament, only 547 lawmakers participated in voting as the agitating Madhes-based parties boycotted the election.
Pun was the common candidate of the ruling coalition. The CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist), Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal and some fringe parties voted for him. Main opposition NC, however, fielded its own candidate.
The Maoists had threatened to withdraw their support to the government if the UML refused to vote for Pun. Some UML leaders had opposed his name arguing that the security agencies would find it hard to accept Pun as the Vice President given his past when he battled the state forces as the deputy commander of the Maoist army.
Pun’s election was part of a larger power-sharing among the coalition partners. The second largest party, UML, has got the President and the prime minister, the Maoists the Speaker and the Vice President while a RPP-Nepal leader is the deputy Speaker.
The largest party, NC, was denied vital posts after it refused to support the UML in government formation. With elections for the vital posts over, a major component of the transitional provision of the new constitution has been implemented.
Prime Minister KP Oli commented before the polls that the UML had supported Pun for his contribution to the completion of the peace and constitution drafting process.
Pun became commander of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army after Pushpa Kamal Dahal resigned as its supreme commander when he became the prime minister in 2008. He took the command of the former Maoist combatants during their rehabilitation process and integration into the Nepal Army.