KATHMANDU, March 19: Shashi Kala Dahal, 60, of the CPN (Maoist Center) was elected the vice-chairperson of the National Assembly (NA), defeating Brinda Devi Ale of the Nepali Congress (NC) in an election held on Sunday.
The ruling left alliance candidate Dahal secured 45 votes while her rival Ale received only 11 votes. Of the total 59 members of the upper house, 56 participated in the voting.
President Bidya Bhandari administered the oath of office to vice-chairperson elect Dahal later on the same day at Sheetal Niwas. Dahal had been elected to the National Assembly unopposed from Mahottari of Province 2. A teacher-turned-politician Dahal is the chief of intellectual women department of the Maoist party and former chief of its women's wing.
She had joined politics 44 years ago and remained underground prior to the 1990 popular uprising. Dahal is also the vice chairperson of the Association of the Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal and chairperson of the Bardibas-based Sunghava FM.
UML and Maoist Center had agreed to give the chairman of the upper house and deputy speaker of the lower house to the UML and Speaker of the House of Representatives and vice chair of the National Assembly to the Maoist Center. Ganesh Timilsina of CPN-UML was elected the chairman of the upper house last week.
The constitution has an obligatory provision of electing chair and vice-chair of the National Assembly from different political parties and gender.
Dinanath Sharma of the Maoist Center had proposed Dahal's candidacy in the National Assembly meeting on Sunday while Dil Kumari Rawal of UML seconded the candidacy.