Nepal fails to break deadlock; Poudyal loses PM race 10th time

For the 10th time in a row, Nepal`s Parliament failed to elect a Prime Minister rejecting NC leader Ram Chandra Poudyal.

Kathmandu: For the 10th time in a row, Nepal`s
Parliament today failed to elect a Prime Minister rejecting NC
leader Ram Chandra Poudyal, the sole candidate for the post,
and is set to meet tomorrow for another run-off which may
again prove futile amid a boycott by Maoists and CPN-UML.

65-year-old Poudyal secured 109 votes, far below the
magic figure of 301, in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.
Only 156 lawmakers were present for the election, out of which
one MP voted against him while 46 remained neutral.

It was certain from the beginning today that Poudyal
would lose as both UCPN-Maoists and CPN-UML, with a combined
strength of 347, in the House staying away from the entire
election process.

The 11th round of voting is scheduled for 3.00 pm local
time tomorrow.

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

Unified CPN (Maoist) and CPN-UML lawmakers did not
participate in the voting process on the September 30 poll as
well.

More than three months after the 22-party coalition led
by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, 10 rounds of
polls have so far 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.

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 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 combined 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 for the top post.

The major parties had failed to agree on a consensus
candidate for the post of the Prime Minister, leading to the
process of electing a new leader through majority vote in the
Constituent Assembly.

Nepali Congress has ruled out the possibility of
forming the next government under the Maoists` leadership as
the former rebels have not yet laid down arms, managed their
combatants and dissolved the paramilitary organisation of
their youth wing, Young Communist League.

PTI

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