Nepal fails in eighth attempt to elect PM

Nepal`s parliament failed to elect a new Prime Minister for the eighth time in a row as R C Poudyal of Nepali Congress was unable to garner majority support even after the withdrawal of Maoist chairman Prachanda from the race.

Kathmandu: Nepal`s parliament on Sunday
failed to elect a new Prime Minister for the eighth time in a
row as R C Poudyal of Nepali Congress was unable to garner
majority support even after the withdrawal of Maoist chairman
Prachanda from the race, deepening the political crisis.

65-year-old Poudyal, the sole candidate for the post
of Prime Minister, secured 116 votes in favour which was 184
votes short of a majority. Two votes were cast against him
while 71 lawmakers remained neutral.

Unified CPN (Maoist) and CPN-UML lawmakers did not
participate in the voting process. Till the seventh round of
elections, CPN-UML had participated in the voting process and
stayed neutral.

The next round of poll will take place on September
30, according to the Parliament secretariat.

Ahead of the voting in the 601-member Constituent
Assembly, the House officially approved the withdrawal of
Prachanda`s candidacy. Maoist vice president Baburam Bhattarai
formally notified the House about the withdrawal of his party
boss from the Prime Ministerial race.

Following Prachanda`s failure to get majority support
in Parliament seven times in a row, the Maoist chief on
September 17 withdrew from the election after a deal with the
CPN-UML in bid to facilitate the formation of a national
consensus government.

CPN-Maoist, which ended its decade-long civil war in
2006, is the single largest party with 238 seats in the
Assembly, while Nepali Congress has 114 members in the House
whose two-year term was extended by one year on May 28.

The CPN-UML with the strength of 109 and the Madhesi
alliance with the combine strength of 82 and other smaller
parties have called for a national government.

55-year-old former prime minister Prachanda and
CPN-UML president Jhala Nath Khanal reached a deal on
September 17 that the Maoists would withdraw from the Prime
Ministerial race and both the parties would not take part in
the election on September 26.

Nearly three months after the 22-party coalition led
by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, eight rounds
of poll have failed to elect a new leader. The country has
been without a government since June 30, when Nepal stood down
under intense pressure from the Maoists.

The Maoists today called for the formation of a new
coalition government.

"It is clear that we cannot elect a new prime minister
in this way. We should now look to form a national unity
government," Bhattarai said after the failure to elect a new
prime minister.

The caretaker government is facing fund crunch as the
budget for the current fiscal could not be approved due to the
political crisis.

PTI

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