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Sher Bahadur Deuba is Nepali Congress president again as he divides his opponents

Sher Bahadur Deuba speaks during the inaugural of the Nepali Congress general convention, in Kathmandu, in December 2021.
Sher Bahadur Deuba speaks during the inaugural of the Nepali Congress general convention, in Kathmandu, in December 2021.

Kathmandu, December 15

The 14th national convention of the ruling Nepali Congress party has re-elected Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba as the party president for a second term.

In a presidential run-off held on Tuesday, the 75-year-old five-time prime minister defeated the 71-year-old never-even-a-minister, Shekhar Koirala, by 878 votes. Whereas Deuba secured 2,733 votes, Koirala was restricted to 1,855.

While 4,623 votes were cast, 35 turned invalid.

Deuba’s victory looked difficult until Tuesday morning as he fell short of 82 votes to secure a 50 per cent mark required to get elected to the position while two other candidates–Prakash Man Singh and Bimalendra Nidhi–were reportedly determined to go against him together.

However, a strategic Sher Bahadur Deuba, apparently by assuring them of some powerful roles in the party and the government in the coming years, wooed both Singh and Nidhi to join his side, leaving his closest rival Shekhar Koirala alone.

Deuba has been leading Nepal’s popularly called “grand old” party since 2016, and with the victory today, his renewed term will last until late 2025/early 2026, when the party will hold the next general convention.

Meanwhile, the party’s election committee says it will count votes of the elections held for other positions of the central committee on Wednesday. Whereas Koirala failed to make it to the top position, some candidates in his panel including Gagan Thapa are expected to get elected in powerful positions in the party.

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