Nepal fails to elect Prime Minister in 6th run-off poll

Nepal`s Parliament failed to elect a new prime minister for the sixth time on Sunday.

Kathmandu: Nepal`s Parliament failed to
elect a new prime minister for the sixth time on Sunday as Maoist
supremo Prachanda and his Nepali Congress rival Ramchandra
Poudyal could not muster a majority, deepening the two-month
constitutional crisis in the country.

More than two months after the 22-party coalition led
by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, a sixth
run-off poll failed to elect a new leader, with both Prachanda
and 65-year-old Poudyal unable to get majority support of the
lawmakers in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

55-year-old Prachanda polled 240 votes, while 101
lawmakers voted against him. Poudyal received only 122 votes.
Out of total 504 members present, 163 lawmakers stayed
neutral. Lawmakers from CPN-UML and Terai based Madhesi
parties remained neutral like in the earlier five rounds and
abstained from voting.

Nepal`s lawmakers have rejected Poudyal and Prachanda
in the earlier five rounds of vote since Prime Minister Nepal
quit on June 30 amid intense pressure from the former rebels,
plunging the country into a deep political crisis in the
absence of a government.

On August 23, Prachanda, a former Prime
Minister, had managed to bag only 246 votes, with 111 members
opposing him.

Poudyal also failed to touch the magic figure of 301,
receiving just 124 votes in favour and 243 against, forcing
the House to fix another round of voting for today.

Out of the total 563 lawmakers who participated in the
voting, 206 members, mostly from CPN-UML and the Terai-based
Madhesi parties, had remained neutral and abstained from

The CPN-UML with the strength of 109 and the Madhesi
alliance with the combine strength of 84 and other smaller
parties have called for a national government and remained
neutral and abstained from voting.

CPN-UML candidate Jhala Nath Khanal withdrew his
candidature during the first round of voting on July 21 as he
could not muster the two-thirds majority support in the House.

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

The country has been in political limbo since the
June 30 resignation of Nepal, who is currently heading a
caretaker government.