Nepal: Maoist Leader Emerges As New PM

    Photo: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • Former Maoist guerrilla leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal — better known by his nom de guerre "Prachanda" — was sworn in as prime minister of Nepal on Monday. His Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) finished third in the November elections, which resulted in a hung parliament.

    • The announcement came hours after Prachanda walked out of the Nepali Congress party's Sher Bahadur Deuba-led ruling alliance and joined a coalition with the opposition communist Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party and five other smaller groups.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    This is clearly the result of Chinese meddling. Beijing has finally put into practice its years-old plans to push all of Nepal's communist parties together to form the next government. This move has kept the more India-friendly Nepali Congress out of power and is likely to favor Chinese geopolitical interests.

    Pro-China narrative

    Nepal's relations with either neighbor won't be affected by this election, as major parties have all been clear that Kathmandu must maintain good relationships with both the PRC and India. Nevertheless friendship with Beijing mean tangible benefits to Nepalis, including high-quality cooperation in investment, infrastructure, and other areas.

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