Ram Chandra Poudel
|3rd President of Nepal|
|Assumed office |
13 March 2023
|Prime Minister||Pushpa Kamal Dahal|
|Vice President||Nanda Kishor Pun|
Ram Sahaya Yadav
|Preceded by||Bidya Devi Bhandari|
|Speaker of the House of Representatives|
18 December 1994 – 23 March 1999
|Deputy||Ram Vilas Yadav |
Lila Shrestha Subba
|Preceded by||Daman Nath Dhungana|
|Succeeded by||Taranath Ranabhat|
|Vice President of the Nepali Congress|
|Preceded by||Prakash Man Singh|
Gopal Man Shrestha
|Succeeded by||Bimalendra Nidhi|
|Born||15 October 1944|
|Political party||Independent (since 2023)|
|Nepali Congress (until 2023)|
Durga Prasad (father)
A former senior leader of the Nepali Congress, Poudel previously served as the speaker of the House of Representatives from 1994 to 1999, and was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs from 1999 to 2002. First elected to parliament in 1991, he served in numerous other ministerial positions and was the Leader of Opposition from 2009 to 2013, as the parliamentary party leader of the Nepali Congress.
Ram Chandra Poudel was born on 15 October 1944 in a Brahmin farming family in the remote village of Satiswara, located in the present-day Vyas municipality of Tanahun district. He completed his secondary education (SLC) from Nandi Ratri Secondary School in Kathmandu and studied Sanskrit literature at the Sanskrit University from 1963 to 1967. He also completed a MA in Nepali literature from the Tribhuvan University in 1970, appearing in his examinations while being detained in prison for anti-Panchayat activities.
Early years and student politics (1960s and 1970s)
Poudel got into politics aged just 16 when he joined the protests and movement against the dismissal of the B.P. Koirala-led government and imposition of Panchayat rule by King Mahendra in December 1960, and participated in numerous Congress-led armed struggles for the restoration of democracy in the 1960s. A key campaigner for the students’ movement in Nepal, he was elected president of the student union at the Saraswati Campus in 1967 and elected general secretary of the Democratic Socialist Youth League in 1968. Poudel took initiatives in organizing the Nepal Student Union, the Congress party’s student wing established in 1970, and was the union's founding central committee member.
Party politics (1970s – 2023)
Poudel entered into mainstream party politics in 1977, when he was elected member of the Nepali Congress Tanahun district committee. He was elected vice-president of the district committee in 1979, and president in 1980. Poudel was appointed coordinator of the Nepali Congress's Central Publicity Committee in 1983, and was appointed member of the party's central committee and chief of the party's central level publicity bureau in 1987.
In the 1994 general election, he switched seats and was elected from Tanahun 2, a seat he then held consecutively until 2017. Poudel was elected speaker of the House of Representatives following the election, and served until 1999. Following the 1999 general election, he was appointed deputy prime minister and Minister for Home Affairs, and he served in those positions until 2002. Poudel was elected general secretary of the Nepali Congress following the party's general convention in 2006. He played an important role in the peace process as the coordinator of the Peace Secretariat after the end of the civil war, and served as the Minister for Peace and Reconstruction from 2007 to 2008. Poudel was elected vice-president of the Nepali Congress in 2008, and defeated former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to become Congress' parliamentary party leader following the 2008 Constituent Assembly election. Poudel contested the prime ministerial election in parliament in 2010, but was not elected even after 17 rounds of election. He served as the Congress party's acting president after the death of Sushil Koirala in 2016, but was defeated by Deuba in the party's 13th general convention later in the year.
Having decided to switch back to his old seat of Tanahun 1, Poudel was defeated by Krishna Kumar Shrestha of the CPN (UML) in the 2017 general election. He remained active in party politics, and was elected from Tanahun 1 in the 2022 general election.
Poudel spent over 15 years as a prisoner of conscience on various occasions, mostly for being an opponent of the panchayat system. He was detained on the following occasions:
- For 10 months in 1962 in connection with the armed seize of Bharatpur by Nepali Congress.
- For 12 months in 1964 in connection with student movements in Kathmandu.
- For 6 months in 1966 for being involved in a movement to oust the then-Deputy inspector General of Police.
- For 14 months in 1967 in connection with organisational activities of DSYL in Pokhara.
- For one year in 1969 in connection with the reorganization of DSYL in western Nepal.
- For 3 months in 1970 for being involved in the organization and inauguration of Nepal Student Union.
- For 4 years from 1971 to 1975 for being involved in revitalizing political activities after the release of B.P. Koirala.
- For 10 months in 1977 for being involved in the Patan Conference of the Nepali Congress, where a decision was taken to launch a civil disobedience movement (Satyagraha) for the restoration of democracy and release of its ailing leader, B.P. Koirala.
- For 6 months in 1979 for taking a leading role in anti-Panchayat movements
- For 6 months in 1981 in connection with the boycott of Panchayati elections.
- For 9 months in 1985 in connection with the civil disobedience movement (Satyagraha).
- For 3 months in 1988 on a charge of publishing a Nepali Congress organ and for breaching the Publication Act.
- For 5 months in 1989 on a charge of organizing and inspiring people to take part in movement for restoration of democracy.
- For about one and half years from 2003 to 2005 during the King's direct rule.
President (2023 – present)
Poudel was the candidate from Nepali Congress and its 10-party alliance for the 2023 presidential election, and was elected president on 9 March 2023, defeating former speaker Subas Chandra Nemwang of the CPN (UML). He disassociated himself from all party responsibilities and resigned as an active member of the Nepali Congress after being elected president. Poudel resigned as member of Parliament before assuming office as president on 13 March 2023.
Poudel is married to Savita Poudel and the couple have five children: four daughters and one son.
Poudel is an active writer and his political and theoretical affairs are frequently published in national vernaculars, including:
- What Nepali Congress Says (1976)
- Satyagraha – Why and How (1984)
- Democratic Socialism – A study (1990)
- Journey of Faith (1996)
- Abhisapta Itihas (2004)
- Socialism – In New Context (2012)
- Agricultural Revolution and Socialism (2013)
Poudel received the Mahendra Bikram Shah Prize for an article titled "Human Rights Condition in Nepal" in 1987.
- Japan: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (2020) – for contributions in enhancing Nepal-Japan ties
- "Ram Chandra Paudel is new President". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Ram Chandra Paudel is the new president of Nepal - OnlineKhabar English News". Online Khabar. 9 March 2023. Retrieved 9 March 2023. Archived 2023-03-09 at the Wayback Machine
- "Paudel caps his career with presidency". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "१४ वर्षको बन्दी जीवनदेखि राष्ट्रपतिसम्म". GorakhaPatra. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- रासस (14 June 2021). "संस्कृत भाषाको पुनर्जागरण गर्नुपर्छः रामचन्द्र पौडेल". देशसञ्चार. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "वामपन्थी राजनीति छाडेर कांग्रेसमा होमिएका रामचन्द्र, यस्तो छ बेलथुम्कीदेखि शीतलनिवाससम्मको यात्रा :: शिलापत्र संवाददाता :: Shilapatra शिलापत्र - खबरको स्थायी ठेगाना". shilapatra.com. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Ram Chandra Paudel elected new President of Nepal". The Annapurna Express. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Ram Chandra Paudel Failed to Become Nepal Prime Minister 17 Times, But Won President Polls in First Attempt". News18. 10 March 2023. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Koirala's death sparks leadership tussle in Nepali Congress". Hindustan Times. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- Times, The Himalayan (7 March 2016). "Sher Bahadur Deuba elected Nepali Congress president". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- Sen, Sandeep (10 December 2017). "NC senior leader Poudel defeated in Tanahun 1". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- Republica. "NC leader Paudel elected as HoR member from Tanahun-1". My Republica. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Eight political parties to support Congress candidate in presidential election". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Nepal elects new president amid political uncertainty". AP NEWS. 9 March 2023. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- Republica. "President-elect Paudel separates himself from party responsibilities". My Republica. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "President Paudel resigns as HoR member". Khabarhub. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- Republica. "President Paudel assumes his office, resigns from the post of HoR member". My Republica. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
- "Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel to receive Japanese honours". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 12 February 2021. Archived 2021-03-10 at the Wayback Machine