Kathmandu: Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’ was on Monday unanimously re-elected as the chairman of the CPN (Maoist Center) for the next five years, a senior party leader said.

Prachanda was elected unopposed as the chairperson by the first meeting of the newly-elected central committee of the party held at the Heritage Garden at Sanepa Heights in Lalitpur, central member Himal Sharma said.

The 67-year-old leader has been leading the party for over three decades now – uncontested.

“I am feeling a big responsibility on me,” Prachanda said while addressing the Central Committee meeting. “I feel indebted to the people and the country standing here after taking the oath again (as party chair) as I have been in leadership for a long time.”

Members of the newly-elected Central Committee of the party also took oath at its first meeting.

The 8th National General Convention of the Maoist Center, which started on December 26, elected 236 central members on Sunday. The number includes 111 from the open category and 125 from the inclusive category.

As per the Maoist Center statute amended during the general convention, there is a provision to have a 299-member Central Committee. A total of 15 per cent CC members will be nominated by the Central Committee. However, the party is yet to elect other office bearers.

The Maoist Center has amended its statute to have 15 members including a chairman, a senior vice chairman, six vice chairmen, a general secretary, two deputy general secretaries, three secretaries and a treasurer in the office bearers’ body.

Prachanda, who led the Maoists during the armed struggle from 1996 to 2006 and is credited with transforming the rebel movement into a political party after a 2006 peace deal, has also served as the Prime Minister of post-monarchy Nepal.

In 2018, he merged his party with K P Sharma Oli-led CPN-UML to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) after the two communist forces swept the 2017 elections. However, the NCP split after a power struggle between Prachanda and Oli last year.

Prachanda’s party is now a key coalition partner in the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government.

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