Nepalese presidential election, 2008
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
An indirect presidential election was held in Nepal on 19 July 2008 with a presidential run-off on 21 July. The Nepalese Constituent Assembly (CA) elected in April 2008 elected a new President and Vice-President after the Fifth Amendment to the Interim Constitution was passed on 14 July. This would be the first President to be elected after Nepal became a republic a few months earlier.
In the newly passed amendment, the majority party will form the government, the CA will elect the new President on the basis of majority and a new provision that the Opposition Leader will be a member of the Constitutional Council. The leading political parties, Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) engaged in discussions regarding who would be the new President. The Nepali Congress wanted Prime Minister and interim Head of State Girija Prasad Koirala while the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) wanted its former Secretary-General Madhav Kumar Nepal as President. However, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) wants an independent figure as President rather than party figures such as Koirala or Nepal. The Maoists won the most seats in the CA, though their party needs to form a coalition government with the other parties.
Organisation of the election
The election is conducted by the Office of the Election Officer (OEO). On 16 July 2008 OEO released a voters list of 593 CA members. The CA was 601 seats in total, but by-elections are due in five constituencies and three CA members had not been sworn in at the time.
On 9 June 2008, the CPN(Maoist) declared that five names from outside their party they would consider for the presidency:
- Sahana Pradhan
- Ramraja Prasad Singh
- Nara Bahadur Karmacharya
- Padma Ratna Tuladhar
- Devendra Raj Pandey.
Negotiations between CPN(Maoist) and CPN(UML) appeared to have broken down by 17 July 2008 so the three major parties all nominated their own candidates for president and vice-president. All three main presidential candidates were Madhesis. The largest Madhesi party, the MJF, announced that they'd support Singh as president, but nominated their own candidate for vice president.
|Party||Presidential candidate||Vice-presidential candidate|
|Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)||Ramraja Prasad Singh||Shanta Shrestha|
|Nepali Congress||Ram Baran Yadav||Min Bahadur Bishwokarma|
|Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)||Ramprit Paswan||Astha Laxmi Shakya|
|Madhesi Janadhikar Forum||Parmanand Jha|
On the day of the poll the CPN(UML) and MJF agreed to back the NC candidate for the presidency and the CPN(UML) and NC agreed to back the MJF candidate for the vice-presidency, thus nullifying the agreement the Maoists had with the three Madhesi parties.
578 CA members participated in the poll on 19 July 2008. Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Rastriya Janamorcha, the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified) boycotted the election. The sole CA member of the Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekta Party, Keshav Prasad Mainali, only participated in the vice-presidential poll.
On 19 July, Parmananda Jha was declared the first Vice President of Nepal. Jha received 305 votes beating his nearest rival Shanta Shrestha from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) with 243 votes. However, the President of Nepal could not be elected as neither candidate got a clear majority. Ram Baran Yadav received 283 votes and Ram Raja Prasad Singh won 270 votes. A run-off election was thus called for.
On 21 July, Ram Baran Yadav of the Nepali Congress, who was supported by the CPN (UML) and MJF, got support from around 308 Constituent Assembly members in 594 Constituent Assembly members. His rival was Ram Raja Prasad Singh, nominated by the CPN (M). Prasad won 282 votes. Earlier, during vice-presidential election and first round of presidential elections, Maoists had threatened to refuse to form a government if their choice for the presidency did not succeed as they feared that certain electoral pledges such as land reform would not able to pass. Kul Bahadur Gurung, the speaker of constituent assembly, declared Ram Yadav winner of second-round presidential election on Monday. Yadav would be the first President of Nepal after it became a republic. The new President will replace the deposed King Gyanendra as the head of the state.
|Candidate||Parties||Votes (first round)||Votes (second round)|
|Ram Baran Yadav||Nepali Congress
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum 
|Ramraja Prasad Singh||Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)||270||282|
|Parmananda Jha||Madhesi Janadhikar Forum
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
|Shanta Shrestha||Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)||243|
- "CA to Elect President on 19 July". Nepal News. 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Fifth Amendment Passed; Coast Cleared for Forming Majority Govt". Nepal News. 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Nepal's Top Political Parties Begin Search for Country's First President". International Herald Tribune. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Election Office set to hold Presidential Election". eKantipur.com. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Maoist Propose Five Names for President". Nepal. Telegraph Nepal. 2006-06-09. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Parties Fail to Pick Common Presidential Candidate; Frontrunners are Three Madhesis". Nepal News. 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "CPN-M President Candidate Gathers Simple Majority". People's Daily Online. 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Nepali Political Parties File Different Names for 1st President". People's Daily Online. 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Candidates for President, Veep File Nominations; Singh Stands Fair Chance". 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Voting for President, Vice President Completes 16 CA Members Absent". Nepal News. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "PM meets with Chure Bhawar Leader; Parties Intensify Parleys". Nepal News. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Nepali Vice President Elected, New Date for President Voting set". www.chinaview.cn. 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Vote Setback for Nepalese Maoists". BBC News. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Nepali Presidential Re-Election Voting Concludes". Xinhua. China Daily. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Ram Yadav Elected 1st Nepali President". Xinhua. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Jha Becomes Nepal's First Vice President; Re-Polling for President set for Monday". Nepal News. 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-21.