Former Maoist rebel leader Prachanda has become Nepal’s prime minister for the third time.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal — better known by his nom du guerre Prachanda, which reportedly means “fierce” or “terrible” — will be heading Nepal’s new government until 2025 along with the support of the opposition Communist Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party, officials said on Sunday.
“He has been appointed and commands the support of a big majority of parliament,” Tika Dhakal, an alliance of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, told Reuters.
The 68-year-old ex-Maoist leader led a decade-long rebellion against Nepal’s monarchy from 1996 to 2006, which ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006.
Prachanda has the support of 165 lawmakers in the 275-member House of Representatives. Seven parties have also pledged their support for him.
Prachanda will be replacing 76-year-old Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress party, who will step down after the first half of the five-year term to make way for the UML to take over the office.
“This is the understanding. Remaining work of distribution of key other posts and ministries is still to be worked out,” Dev Gurung, the general secretary of Prachanda’s Maoist Centre party, told Reuters.
The new coalition arose hours after Prachanda walked out of the ruling alliance led by Deuba, who has refused to support Prachanda taking on a new role.
Prachanda faces economic challenges and decreasing foreign exchange reserves as the Himalayan nation has been obstructed by political instability due to frequent changes in government.