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article imageCommunist Party leader elected prime minister of Nepal

By Ken Hanly     Oct 12, 2015 in Politics
Katmandu - The parliament speaker announced that Oli had received 338 votes from the 597 members in the Nepal parliament. Oli is chair of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) since 2014 when he won over Jhala Khanai by a 98 to 75 vote.
Oli's candidacy had the support of at least a dozen parties including the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal. For years Nepal was subject to a Maoist insurgency in the countryside.The new government faces many problems including protests by Madhesi and Tharu communities over the new constitution. Over 40 people died within a month during clashes. The minorities live in the south on the border with India. Nepal is facing a diplomatic row with India over the treatment of the Madhesis, who are of Indian origin, resulting in reported blocking of trade along border points.
The new Nepal constitution is secular. In a first in Asia, the constitution recognizes the rights of the LGBT community. In 2007 the Nepal Supreme Court granted equal status to the LGBT community. Sunil Pant founder of the Blue Diamond Society and an openly gay federal MP said: "This victory is just the beginning of our long road towards full equality. We are ready to move beyond the discrimination, violence and exclusion of the past, and continue with even greater integrity, responsibility and dedication to contribute to the nation-building process."
In neighbouring India and Pakistan homosexuality is still punishable as a crime. While recognizing LGBT rights the constitution makes no mention of same sex marriage although a panel recommended this as well.
The new constitution is clearly secular and democratic. President Ram Yadav said: "I announce the presented constitution of Nepal, passed by the Constituent Assembly and authenticated by the chairman of the constituent assembly, effective from today, 20 September 2015, before the people of Nepal." A peace deal ended a Maoist insurgency in 2006 and the monarchy was ended by parliamentary vote in 2008. The Maoists became part of a constitutional assembly who helped draw up the present constitution. Several minorities complain that their rights are not sufficiently recognized by the constitution.
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