The Nepalese parliament has chosen KP Sharma Oli as the new prime minister, tasked with unifying the country amid domestic unrest.
Oli, of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), on Sunday mustered 338 votes to defeat former premier Sushil Koirala, who had resigned as required by the constitution adopted on September 20.
“Today I have been elected as the prime minister. I take this as an opportunity, an honor and a challenge,” Oli said.
Oli and Koirala were coalition partners in the former government. Koirala became prime minister in 2014, but had to step down following the adoption of the new constitution.
A sharp critic of India’s trade blockade against Nepal, Oli said his government’s priority will be to start rebuilding quake-stricken areas and to amend Nepal’s new constitution to address concerns of disgruntled groups.
The current government has been slow in reconstruction job after the spring quakes left nearly 8,900 people dead and more than half a million homeless.
Furthermore, more than 40 were killed in clashes which broke out after protests against the government’s planned division of the country into several federal provinces.
“There are groups that are dissatisfied with the constitution. We have to address their demands,” Oli said, adding, “Our country has been devastated by the earthquake. I will accelerate the reconstruction process.”
Born in Tehrathum district in eastern Nepal in 1952, Oli is generally popular in Nepal for being witty, clear-headed, straight-talking and a tough politician with strong decision-making abilities.
He has also been involved in leftist politics since 1970. He was jailed from 1973 to 1987 for his political beliefs.
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