Minorities “no longer have to worry, says Sher Bahadur Deuba, Nepal’s new prime minister
by Christopher Sharma

Elected by parliament with 388 votes against 170, he has promised to defend the rights of ethnic and religious minorities and democracy. His statement has been met with happiness, but people will wait “to see how much they will respect minority rights and voice.”

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Sher Bahadur Deuba is the new prime minister of Nepal. Elected yesterday afternoon, he is the country’s 40th head of government.

This follows the resignation of Pushpa "Prachanda" Kamal Dahal on 24 May in accordance with deal worked between the parties in the ruling coalition. Mr Deuba received 338 votes with 170 voting against him. Some 558 lawmakers out of 593 were present.

Deuba, 71, is the president of the Nepali Congress and this is his fourth time to serve as head of government. Speaking to parliament, the new prime minister said that although "the Nepali Congress is the largest political party, we accepted the leadership of a third party in the ruling coalition to strengthen democracy."

"The Nepali Congress has never accepted compromises on democratic values ​​and rights," he added. "We respect all minority castes and faiths, and my government will emphasise the protection and promotion of minority rights. Christians, Tibetans and other religious groups no longer have to worry about their religious and democratic freedom."

Religious leaders happily welcomed the news, but want to see words turned into practice. "We want democratic culture and practice,” said Christian Federation president C B Gahatraj. “In the past, many leaders promised democracy and rights to minorities, but each failed to fulfill their promises. So, we are positively waiting to see how much they will respect minority rights and voice."