Kathmandu: Senior Nepali Congress (NC) leader Nilamber Acharya was on Friday elected the chief of a 63-member panel tasked with drafting Nepal`s new Constitution by May 2010, defeating his Maoist rival in a close contest that came after last minute efforts to choose a consensus candidate failed.
During the election for the post that took place in the office of the Constitutional Committee, Acharya secured 29 votes against 21 received by Maoist candidate Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
Altogether, 50 votes were cast out of the total 63. Terai Madhesh Democratic Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal boycotted the election.
After Acharya, former minister for law and justice, was declared victorious, he was sworn in as the Constitution-drafting panel`s Chairman by the Chair of the
Constituent Assembly, Subash Chandra Nembang.
The election occurred after the last minute negotiations between Nepali Congress (NC) President GP Koirala and Maoist chief Prachanda failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
The post of the Chairman of the Constitutional Committee fell vacant in May when Madhav Kumar Nepal, who was leading the panel, was appointed Prime Minister.
The 63-member body is responsible for drafting the new Constitution to institutionalise the federal democratic republic by May 2010.
Nepal`s Constituent Assembly at its first meeting on May 28 last year had declared the country a federal democratic republic and set a two-year deadline for drafting the new Constitution for the country.