KATHMANDU, March 17: Shivamaya Tumbahamphe of CPN-UML has been elected the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives on Friday, defeating Pushpa Bhusal of Nepali Congress (NC).
Ruling alliance candidate Tumbahamphe secured 201 votes in the 275-member lower house, while her rival Bhusal received only 61 votes in the election held in parliament on Friday. A lecturer-turned-politician, Tumbamphe has worked as women rights activist and has a PhD on women's movements in Nepali politics.
UML, CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Rastriya Janamorcha, and Rastriya Prajatantra Party supported left alliance candidate Tumbamphe for the post. While, the main opposition NC's candidate Bhusal had only her party's backing in the poll.
Proposing Bhusal's candidacy in the House, NC lawmaker Dila Sangroula said that as the unification process between the UML and Maoist Center was underway, the deputy speaker's post should be given to the opposition party, in line with the spirit of the constitution.
The constitution has a mandatory provision of electing the speaker and deputy speaker from different political parties and gender. Earlier, Krishna Bahadur Mahara of the Maoist Center was elected the speaker of the lower house.
Seconding Bhusal's candidacy, NC's Debendra Raj Kandel urged the left parties to support the opposition candidate for the post of deputy speaker to maintain 'power balance' in parliament.
Dev Gurung of the Maoist Center, proposing the candidacy of UML's Tumbahamphe, claimed that as the election mandate is in favor of the left alliance, the opposition NC shouldn't eye the key post.
Rabindra Adhikari of UML, seconding the candidacy of Tumbahamphe, also insisted that the latter should be elected to the post to honor her contribution to women's movement in the country.
Mahara was elected to the post unopposed after the opposition NC also supported him for the post. But the opposition decided to contest the deputy speaker's post, claiming that both speaker and deputy speaker shouldn't be given to the left parties given their preparations for unification.