Maoist Baburam Bhattarai becomes prime minister in Nepal

Nepal's Parliament has chosen Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai to be its next prime minister. Sworn in Monday, he is Nepal's fifth prime minister in 37 months.

Bhattarai is the head of the Unified Communist Party (Maoist), which had been in power two years ago. He defeated Ramchandra Paudel, the leader of the Nepali Congress Party, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Bhattarai won a majority of seats in the Parliament with the support of an alliance of smaller parties, the Associated Press reports.

Bhattarai was once part of a Maoist insurgency against Nepal's monarchy that resulted in a decade-long civil war. The armed conflict, which left at least 13,000 dead, ended in 2006 with an agreement by the Maoists to stop fighting. The unpopular monarchy was soon abolished, and the Maoists joined mainstream politics.

Nepal has faced continued political instability as politicians struggle to agree over the integration of 19,000 former Maoist guerillas as well as the drafting of a new constitution. Bhattarai will be tasked with completing the peace process.

Bhattarai was born in a remote village in central Nepal in 1954, the BBC reports. He earned his PhD in underdevelopment and the regional structure of Nepal from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in India. He began his political career by organizing Nepali students in India, it states.

During the armed conflict, he was the public face of the Maoists.


Related Stories