Nepal\’s parliament on Sunday chose veteran politician KP Sharma Oli as the new prime minister, weeks after the quake-devastated country adopted a new constitution, the speaker announced.
Oli won 338 votes in a parliamentary ballot, defeating rival candidate Sushil Koirala who took 249, after he stepped down as premier as required by the constitution adopted on September 24.
"I announce that respected member KP Sharma Oli has been elected to the post of Nepal\’s prime minister," speaker Subash Chandra Nembang told the parliament to loud cheers.
"My request is that all the parties must work together and move forward in consensus," Oli told lawmakers in an address to parliament before the vote.
"Our country has been devastated by the earthquake. I will accelerate the reconstruction process," he also said.
The current government faces accusations of stalling on rebuilding since the quake that killed nearly 8,900 people and left more than half a million homeless.
The constitution is aimed at bolstering the Himalayan country\’s transformation to a peaceful democracy after decades of political instability and a civil war.
The main political parties were spurred into agreeing on the charter, after years of bickering, following the earthquake.
But the charter, the first to be drawn up by elected representatives, triggered a blockade by protesters at a vital border checkpoint, cutting off fuel supplies from India and sparking a nationwide shortage.
Protesters from Nepal\’s southern plains are incensed about the charter, which will divide the country into several federal provinces.
More than 40 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters representing ethnic minorities, who say the new federal structure will leave them under-represented in parliament.
The historically marginalised groups include the Madhesi and Tharu minorities who mainly inhabit the southern plains, along the border with India.
The constitution is the final stage in a peace process that began when Maoist fighters laid down their arms in 2006 after a decade-long insurgency aimed at abolishing an autocratic monarchy and creating a more equal society.
SOURCE: AFP and agencies