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Nepal Parl rejects Prachanda, Poudyal again for PM post

A run-off poll for the post of Nepal`s Prime Minister ended in a fiasco on Friday, with both Maoist supremo Prachanda and his NC rival Ram Chandra Poudyal biting the dust for the second time in as many days, plunging the country into a deeper political crisis.



Kathmandu: A run-off poll for the post of
Nepal`s Prime Minister ended in a fiasco on Friday, with both
Maoist supremo Prachanda and his NC rival Ram Chandra Poudyal
biting the dust for the second time in as many days, plunging
the country into a deeper political crisis.

The 601-member Parliament will hold yet another election
for the post on August 2 following the failed attempts of
Wednesday and today.

After missing several deadlines, the Constituent
Assembly, which was to meet at 1 pm local time today, convened
finally late in the evening for the run-off poll, weeks after
Madhav Kumar Nepal of CPN-UML resigned as Prime Minister under
Maoist pressure.

58-year-old Prachanda, a former premier, received 241
votes in favour and 113 against him, losing the election
again. The lawmakers had rejected him for the post in the
Wednesday election as well when he had bagged 242 votes in
favour and 114 against, failing to touch the magic figure of
301.

After Prachanda`s defeat, lawmakers were asked to vote
for or against Nepali Congress (NC) Vice President Poudyal,
65, who too crashed out of the race, receiving just 123 votes
in favour and 243 against. On Wednesday also, he was defeated
by 124-235.

The third largest party CPN-UML, the Madhesi alliance of
four political parties and CPN-ML had decided to abstain from
voting.

After CPN-UML candidate Jhala Nath Khanal withdrew his
candidature on Wednesday, it was a direct contest between the
Maoist chief and Nepali Congress leader Poudyal.

Nepal had already passed two deadlines of July 7 and July
12 set by President Ram Baran Yadav to elect a new Prime
Minister, an issue which had raised concern among
western nations as well as India about the stability in the
nation.

Earlier in the day, Maoist leaders held a meeting with
the Madhesi alliance of four political parties of
Indian-origin people to seek their support for Prachanda.

The four parties -- Madhesi People`s Rights Forum (MPRF),
MPRF Democratic, Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhavana
Party -- with 84 seats, have maintained that they would
support the party that provides a clear roadmap to conclude
the peace process and addresses demands of the community from
the southern Terai region, including greater economic and
political rights for them.

After holding a meeting with the Maoists, Madhesi
People`s Rights Forum (Democratic) leader Sharad Singh
Bhandari said the former rebels cannot be trusted unless they
convert into a civilian party by laying down arms and
returning property seized during the decade-long civil war
that ended in 2006.

The Madhesi parties have put three conditions for their
support to any candidate - an autonomous Madhesi region with
right to self-determination; implementation of past pacts with
Madhesi parties, including greater economic and political
rights; and integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist
combatants within four months.

The Madhesi parties abstained from voting as none of the
big parties expressed commitment to address their demands.

Political analysts have warned that a delay in forming a
new government could derail the 2006 peace process. "There
will be chaos. All the government`s plans and policies will be
affected," an analyst said.

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

The major parties failed to arrive at 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, which functions as Parliament.

CPN-Maoist is the single-largest party with 238 MPs,
while Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have 114 and 109 seats
respectively in the Constituent Assembly, whose two-year term
was extended by one year on May 28.

The Assembly was elected in 2008 with a mandate to
complete Nepal`s post-war peace process and draft a new
Constitution, but could not finish the task within the
stipulated two-year timeframe.

Maoists, who joined mainstream politics in 2006 after a
decade-long insurgency, won the maximum seats in 2008
elections and briefly led the government before Prachanda`s
resignation as Premier following differences with President
Yadav over reinstatement of then army chief Rukmangad Kutyal
who was sacked by the administration led by the former rebels.

PTI

From Zee News

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