HomeTop StoriesThe newly elected president of Nepal takes the oath of office

The newly elected president of Nepal takes the oath of office

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s newly elected president — its third since the Himalayan nation abolished its centuries-old monarchy and became a republic in 2008 — took the oath of office in Kathmandu on Monday.

Ram Chandra Poudel was elected on Thursday by members of the federal parliament and provincial assemblies. Top officials, diplomats and members of parliament lined up to congratulate the new president at the ceremony where the military band played national songs and saluted him.

Outgoing President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who had served the maximum of two terms in office, handed over the post immediately after the swearing-in ceremony.

The president is largely a figurehead with little political power. But the election sparked a feud between partners in the government alliance led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who took office in December after a hung parliament left a fragile coalition government.

Dahal supported Poudel, who is now also the commander-in-chief of the Nepalese army, to the anger of his main coalition partner, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), who supported Subash Chandra Nembang, its own candidate.

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The party has since withdrawn from the coalition, threatening Dahal’s control.

Dahal has since lost the support of three major political parties that were part of his initial coalition government, and must seek a vote of confidence in parliament later in March to stay in power.

There was no clear explanation as to why Dahal decided to support the opposition candidate and jeopardize his alliance, but power struggles between the main political parties are common. The country has had eight different governments in the last 10 years.

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