Nepal set to elect new President on Thursday

On Wednesday, Nepal's Election Commission confirmed that all necessary arrangements for the Presidential election have been finalized.

The race for the presidency in Nepal is between two candidates: Ram Chandra Poudel (right) from the Nepali Congress and Subash Chandra Nembang (left) from the CPN-UML I Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday (March 9), Nepal will have a new President, and Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress and Subash Chandra Nembang of the CPN-UML are competing for the position.

The result could have implications for the stability of the government, which is led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda.”

Nepal’s Election Commission said on Wednesday that all preparations for the big-ticket election have been completed.

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The Presidential election is a face-off between two former speakers of the House of Representatives — Paudel, a candidate backed by the eight-party alliance led by Prime Minister Prachanda, and CPN-UML’s Nembang.

Paudel, 78, and Nembang, 69, filed their nominations last month.

Former prime minister KP Sharma-led CPN-UML, Nepal’s second largest party in Parliament, withdrew its support to Prime Minister “Prachanda”-led government following a rift over backing Paudel for the presidential poll.

With the support from eight political parties, Paudel’s victory in the presidential election is almost certain.

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The tenure of the current president, Bidya Devi Bhandari, will end on March 12.

According to Election Commission officials, the voting will be held from 10am to 3pm at the New Baneshwar-based parliament building here.

The Election Commission will begin counting votes at 4pm and declare the results by 7pm.

Two polling stations have been set up in the parliament building complex, according to My Republica newspaper.

One polling station was set up for federal parliament members and the other for the province assembly members, the report said.

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Ballot papers with pictures of both candidates have been printed for Thursday’s voting, Election Commission officials said.

The total number of voters for the election of the President is 882, consisting of 332 members of the parliament and 550 members of the provincial assemblies of the seven provinces.

The election of the President is held based on a weighted voting system.

The vote weightage of a federal MP is 79 whereas that of the provincial assembly member is 48.

The term of office of the President shall be five years from the date of election and an individual can be elected for the post for only two terms.

(With agency inputs)