Crucial 17th run-off poll for new Nepal PM on Jan 12: Report

Nepal will hold the crucial election for a new prime minister on January 12 as Speaker Subas Nembang stepped up consultation with political parties to end the over six months long deadlock over the formation of a govt.

Last Updated: Jan 06, 2011, 19:22 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal will hold the crucial
election for a new prime minister on January 12 as Speaker
Subas Nembang on Thursday stepped up consultation with political
parties to end the over six months long deadlock over the
formation of a government, a news report said.

The 17th prime ministerial run-off is likely to take
place on January 12, Parliament sources said. The Speaker is
likely to announce the date for prime ministerial polling on
the first day of the Winter session, sources were quoted as
saying by the Himalayan Times online.

The report said Nembang is learnt to have already
informed the concerned party leaders about his plan for prime
ministerial polling.

President Ram Baran Yadav had summoned the Winter
session of parliament from January 9. The House is expected to
address key issues, including the election of a new prime
minister and the formation of a government.

Nepal`s 17th run-off poll for a new prime minister was
put off in November with no clear winner expected in
parliament as in the previous series of elections.

65-year-old Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra
Poudyal, the sole candidate who is adamant over not quitting
the prime ministerial race, has failed to garner a majority in
Parliament despite sixteen rounds of polls since the June 30
resignation of premier Madhav Kumar Nepal.

In a series of run-off polls since June 30, the main
opposition UCPN (Maoist) and CPN (UML) lawmakers have chosen
not to vote for a prime minister while Madhesi parties opted
to stay neutral.

CPN-Maoist, which ended its decade-long civil war in
2006, is the single largest party with 238 seats, while Nepali
Congress (NC) has 114 members in the House.

The CPN-UML, the third largest party with a strength
of 109 and the Madhesi parties with the combined strength of
some 80 lawmakers and other smaller outfits have called for a
national government.

In a landmark verdict aimed at ending the deadlock
over the election of the prime minister, the Supreme
Court last month ruled that lawmakers in parliament cannot
choose to remain neutral or abstain from casting their votes
in the run-off poll.

The Speaker has intensified parleys with top leaders
of the major political parties, including Maoist Chairman
Prachanda, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala and
CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, to push forward the
stalled peace process and constitution-drafting processes and
government formation.

"The peace process is not directly linked with the
Parliament and the Constituent Assembly," said Nembang, adding
"But the government formation and constitution-drafting
processes revolve around it".

He has asked the leaders to be clear about the future
of the peace process after UNMIN’s departure.

The Maoists, whose government under Prachanda in 2008
collapsed as a result of a dispute with the country`s
President, has accused the mainstream parties of trying to
isolate the former rebels so that they cannot head another
coalition.

PTI