Nepal’s new prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, wins vote of confidence Coronavirus pandemic news


Deuba faces the immediate task of procuring vaccines and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the Himalayan nation.

Nepal’s new prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, has won a vote of confidence in parliament, days after the Supreme Court reinstated the dissolved legislature in May.

The 75-year-old, who has held the post four times before, garnered 165 votes (surpassing the 136 required) with 83 votes against, Parliament Speaker Agni Sapkota said on Sunday.

It faces the immediate task of procuring vaccines and controlling the spread of COVID-19, which the government says has infected 667,109 people and killed 9,550.

Public health experts say under-reporting of cases in the country means the numbers could be higher.

Less than 4% of the country’s 30 million people have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 1.3 million people, who have received the first dose of vaccine, are waiting for a second as the government rushes to shoot.

“The fight against COVID will be the first priority of the new government,” Deuba told parliament.

The new government has pledged to vaccinate a third of its population in the next three months and all Nepalese next April.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court ordered Deuba to be appointed prime minister to replace KP Sharma Oli. He ruled that Oli, who had been in power for three years, had breached the constitution by dissolving parliament.

However, Deuba still needed to win the vote of confidence according to the constitution.

Deuba, leader of the centrist party in the Nepalese Congress, will lead a coalition with former Maoist rebels and a party representing a dominant minority community on the southern plains of Nepal.

Oli, 69, says he had been unfairly dismissed by the court and has vowed to “go to town” to explain his position.

Pradeep Gyawali, a senior official of Oli’s Marxist Unified Communist Leninist Party, said Oli’s government would be “remembered by the people for many good deeds it had done” while in power.

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