Kathmandu, March 13
Senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel was on Monday sworn in as Nepal's third President, days after he comfortably defeated a candidate fielded by an alliance led by CPN-UML.
At a special ceremony at Sheetal Niwas, the President's Office, Acting Chief Justice Hari Krishna Karki administered the oath to 78-year-old Paudel.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun, outgoing President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Speaker Dev Raj Ghimire, National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Prasad Timilsina and other high-ranking government officials were present on the occasion.
Nepali Congress senior leader Paudel was elected the third President of the country on Thursday, defeating Subas Chandra Nembang of the CPN-UML.
Former Speaker and multiple-time minister, President Paudel has traversed a long political journey to make it to the country's highest state position. He spent over a decade in jail. He was a lawmaker six times, a minister five times, and Speaker for one term.
Paudel replaces Bidya Devi Bhandari, whose term ended on March 12.
This is the third presidential election in Nepal since the country became a republic in 2008.
Paudel had support from eight political parties. Out of 52,628 weightage-based votes, Paudel secured 33,802 while Nembang got 15,518 votes.
The outcome of the Presidential election came as a relief for the government headed by Prime Minister 'Prachanda' as former premier KP Sharma Oli-led CPN-UML withdrew its support to his government following a rift over backing Paudel for the presidential poll.
Oli on Monday appointed Nembang as the deputy parliamentary party leader.
The term of office of the President will be five years from the date of election and an individual can be elected for the post for only two terms.
Although the post of President is largely ceremonial, Nepal's political parties have lately shown a growing interest in the post owing to the discretionary powers the Constitution accords to the post.
Born on October 14, 1944, in Bahunpokhari in a middle-class farmers' family, Paudel joined politics at the age of 16. He became the founding central member of the Nepal Students' Union, the student wing of the Nepali Congress, in 1970.
Paudel was appointed Vice president of the Nepali Congress (banned) Tanhu district committee in 1980. He was elevated to the party's central working committee in 1987 and headed its publicity committee. He became General Secretary in 2005, Vice President in 2007 and acting president of the party in 2015.
He played an active role in the Satyagraha of 1985, People's Movement part I of 1990 and People's Movement part II of 2006. He spent 12 years in jail fighting against the autocratic Panchayat regime.
Paudel was elected to the House of Representatives from Tanhu district for the first time in 1991. Thereafter, he was continuously elected from Tanhu for six consecutive terms.
He was appointed Minister for Local Development in May 1991 and became Agriculture Minister in 1992. Paudel served as Speaker from December 1994 to March 1999. He served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Home and Minister for Information and Communication from 1999 to 2002.
Paudel served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction from 2007 to 2008. He was elected Parliamentary Party leader of the Nepali Congress and leader of the main Opposition in Parliament from 2008 to 2013.
He was honoured with the 'Order of the Rising Sun' award from the Government of Japan in 2020. He has authored over a dozen books mainly about democracy, socialism and agriculture. He has also written dozens of articles in different newspapers and served as a journalist for a brief period.
Paudel has received Masters' Degree in Arts with Nepali language as a major subject and has also completed Shastri or Bachelors' Degree in Sanskrit.
He is married to Sabita Paudel and they have four daughters and a son.
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