Kathmandu, Dec 21 (PTI) Nepal Prime Minister and the Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected the parliamentary party (PP) leader on Wednesday, overpowering his nearest challenger, party General Secretary Gagan Kumar Thapa by 39 votes, officials said.
Deuba, 76, secured 64 votes, while Thapa, 45, could muster only 25 votes, they said.
All 89 lawmakers of the party participated in the voting.
The win means that Deuba will possibly lead the next government after the Nepali Congress emerged as the single-largest party in the general elections held on November 20.
Thapa was the lone challenger to Deuba.
Both submitted their nominations on Tuesday.
Senior party leader Ram Chandra Paudel proposed Deuba’s nomination and was seconded by Purna Bahadur Khadka.
Dr Shekhar Koirala proposed Thapa’s nomination, which was supported by Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Pradeep Paudel and Dhanraj Gurung.
The election was delayed for about an hour on Wednesday due to the disagreement over whether cell phones should be permitted in the voting booth, according to My Republica newspaper.
Nepali Congress lawmakers were asked to show up for the vote along with their election certificate, the report said.
It is the only national party to hold elections to select its PP leader.
The three-member election committee comprising Joint General Secretary Bishma Raj Angdembe as coordinator and central members Pushpa Bhusal and Prakash Rasaili ‘Snehi’ as members were formed in the meeting of the Nepali Congress Central Working Committee on Sunday to elect the PP leader.
The party has won 89 seats -- 57 in the first past the post-election system and 32 in the proportional representation election system -- in the House of Representatives in the recently-concluded general elections.
Meanwhile, the oath-taking ceremony of newly elected members of the House of Representatives in the general election will be held on December 22, sources in the parliamentary secretariat said.
In the 275-member House of Representatives, 165 were elected through direct voting, while the remaining 110 were elected through the proportional electoral system.
Elections to the HoR and seven provincial assemblies were held to end the prolonged political instability that has plagued the Himalayan nation.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without any modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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