Sydney, Australia: Ram Baran Yadav was sworn in as Nepal’s first president in a ceremony boycotted by Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) leader Prachanda whose talks on forming a coalition government have stalled.
Yadav, a 60-year-old doctor-turned politician, took the oath of office on Wednesday in the capital, Kathmandu, Nepalnews.com reported.
Yadav, an ethnic Madhesi from the autonomy-seeking southern Terai region, called for “racial and communal harmony” in Nepal and said parties should work towards the “politics of consensus”.
Prachanda pulled his party out of talks on forming a government after the Maoist-backed candidate was defeated in the vote three days ago. Yadav was elected with the support from the Nepali Congress, CPN (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum.
The Maoists won 220 seats in Nepal’s 10 April general election, double the number secured by their nearest rival, Nepali Congress.
Nepal’s political deadlock came as the United Nations Security Council agreed to extend the world body’s mission in Nepal for six months to allow it to complete its monitoring and management of arms and personnel of the Nepal army and rebels.
Prachanda, a nom de guerre that means “fierce one,” warned four days ago that the defeat of the Maoist-backed presidential candidate may threaten Nepal’s peace process. The rebels sent 23,500 fighters to camps and stored 3,428 weapons as part of the accord that ended the civil war in which more than 13,000 people died.