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Nepal President Paudel, Expectations of Neutrality

Mr Ram Chandra Paudel took an oath of office and secrecy in Nepal on March 13 at a special ceremony at Sheetal Niwas, the President’s Office as the President of Nepal.

Acting Chief Justice Hari Krishna Karki administered the oath to Paudel as per Kathmandu post.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Prasad Timilsina and other high-ranking government officials were also present on the occasion. Paudel is the third President of the country.

He defeated Subas Chandra Nembang of the CPN-UML.

Kathmandu Post reports that our of of 52,628 weightage-based votes, Paudel secured 33,802 while Nembang got 15,518 votes.

Nepal’s presidential system is relatively new, going back less than a decade to 2008.

As per Nepal President’s website, the country has traditionally had a monarchy, with the king serving as head of state. Nepal became a constitutional monarchy in 1990.

Following the mandate of historic movement for restoration of democracy, the People’s Movement of 2006, the Interim Constitution 2007 was adopted which removed all powers of the King and paved the way towards the establishment of the republican system of governance.

On 28 May 2008, Nepal’s elected Constituent Assembly duly and formally abolished the 247 years system of monarchy.

Dr. Ram Baran Yadav who was affiliated to the Nepali Congress was elected as the first President of the Republic of Nepal by the Constituent Assembly which served concurrently as Parliament.

Bidya Devi Bhandari was the second President of the republic and the first President elected by Parliament after the promulgation of the Constitution in 2015.

Ram Chandra Paudel is thus the third President.

Importantly the two main parties – Nepali Congress and the CPN UML have fielded Presidential candidates indicating their dominance in Nepali politics.

While being an independent constitutional authority, past President’s have been accused of favouring the parties from which they rose up. It remains to be seen if Mr Paudel will remain neutral in his role as the President despite his strong affiliation to the Nepali Congress. Given his tenure as the speaker of the parliament a role that requires a degree of fairness and impartiality there could be a refreshing change.


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