Nepal's new PM secures vote of confidence in parliament

KATHMADU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s newly appointed prime minister secured a decisive vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday with support from both his seven-party coalition and the opposition.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal received the support of 268 of the 270 members who were present in the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament, in the voting Tuesday.

House Speaker Pashupati Rana announced that Dahal had secured the backing of a majority of lawmakers needed to win the vote of confidence.

Dahal was able to convince the opposition Nepali Congress party, once his coalition partner and now the largest political party, to support him in the voting. He held marathon negotiations with leaders of opposition parties prior to the voting.

Dahal, who has named only three deputies and four Cabinet ministers since his appointment, is expected now to expand his government to include more members of the seven coalition parties.

It is Dahal’s third time in power since his Maoist group abandoned a decade-long armed revolt in which more than 17,000 people were killed and joined mainstream politics in 2006.

In addition to holding together a range of political parties with differing beliefs, Dahal must work to revive the country’s pandemic-hit economy and balance relations with its giant neighbors, China and India, which are vying for influence in Nepal.

After giving up their armed revolt in 2006, the Maoists joined a U.N.-assisted peace process. They secured the most parliamentary seats in 2008 and Dahal, also known as Prachanda, or the “fierce one,” became prime minister but quit a year later over differences with the president.