China’s friend KP Sharma Oli sworn in as Nepal’s prime minister

Oli leads the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist. He began his political career in the 1970s. During that time, he spent 14 years in prison for his opposition to the Hindu monarchy. Now he has pledged to work for peace, stability and development.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) –  Yesterday afternoon, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UNL), was sworn in as Nepal’s 41st prime minister.

He succeeds Sher Bahadur Deuba, leader of the Nepali Congress, who remained in office for only eight months. Unlike his predecessor who was close to India, the new prime minister is considered a friend of China.

For Oli, this is the second time as the helm of the government since the Himalayan nation adopted a democratic and secular constitution in October 2015.

In his first term in office, from October 2015 to July 2016, he settled the delicate issue of exports from India.

The trade embargo imposed by New Delhi had made life much harder for the Nepali population, devastated by the terrible earthquake of April 2015, that killed more than 8,000 people.

The tensions with India led to a rapprochement with China, with which Oli signed a series of commercial agreements to reduce Nepalis’ suffering and ease the restrictions imposed by the blockade.

Now many analysts believe he will continue on the path of collaboration with Beijing undertaken in the past few years.

Experts suggest that the first agreements should centre on the development of the country’s railway network and upgrade its obsolete hydroelectric plants.

The prime minister is a veteran politician. He began his career in the 1970s, serving, among others, as foreign minister in 2007.

He also spent some 14 years in prison between 1970 and 1990 for his opposition to the country’s Hindu monarchy, which was abolished in 2008.

Oli’s appointment was made possible by the alliance with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist-Centre) (CPN-M), led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal also known as Prachanda.

The same party forced him to leave office the first time by presenting a no confidence motion to prevent the indictment of its leaders who were under investigation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into the civil war.

For experts note, the high level of political instability is one of the Asian nation’s critical issues. Since the monarchy was abolished ten year ago, 11 governments have held power. This has favoured corruption, made worse by economic stagnation.

In taking office, Oli promised to promote peace, stability and development, as well as restore confidence in investors and boost growth.