Nepali Cong threatens to pull out from Nepal govt over PM vote

Ahead of the key run-off poll for a new prime minister, the largest party in Nepal`s ruling coalition warned that it would ask its members to quit the ministry if the CPN-UML votes against its candidate on Wednesday.

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2011, 21:31 PM IST

Kathmandu: Ahead of the key run-off poll
for a new prime minister, the largest party in Nepal`s ruling
coalition on Monday warned that it would ask its members to quit
the ministry if the CPN-UML votes against its candidate on
Wednesday.

Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala held a
crucial meeting with CPN-UML, which is leading the caretaker
coalition, to seek its support for 65-year-old Nepali Congress
leader Ram Chandra Poudyal.

Poudyal remains the sole candidate even as he has
failed to garner a majority in 16 rounds of run-off polls in
Parliament since June 30, when Prime Minister Madhav Nepal
quit amid intense Maoists` pressure.

The Nepali Congress warned that they would call back
its ministers in the 22-party coalition if CPN-UML votes
against Poudyal on January 12.

Senior party leader Bimalendra Nidhi said Nepali
Congress would not be in a position to work together with
CPN-UML if they vote against Poudyal.

"We will call back the ministers from the CPN-UML led
government if UML choose to vote against him," Nidhi was
quoted as saying by the myrepublica, the website of Republica
newspaper on Monday.

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

The country has been in political limbo since the
resignation of Prime Minister Nepal. Despite a series of
polls, the parliament has been unable to elect a new leader,
stalling the 2006 peace process in the country.

The report in daily said the CPN-UML asked Nepali
Congress to withdraw Poudyal to pave the way for the formation
of national consensus government.

The central committee of the CPN-UML had already
decided to vote against Poudyal, the report said.

According to experts, the Prime Ministerial election
on Wednesday may turn out to be decisive amid a Supreme Court
ruling that lawmakers in Parliament cannot remain neutral or
choose to abstain from voting.

If majority of lawmakers decide to vote against
Poudyal, his party will withdraw from the election on moral
ground, a senior party leader said earlier on condition of
anonymity.

In such a circumstances, a fresh round of election
will be held for a new leader, he said.

The Maoists, who joined mainstream politics after a
decade-long insurgency in 2006, has accused the mainstream
parties of trying to isolate the former rebels so that they
are deprived of leading another coalition.

The deadlock in Nepal`s peace process has sparked
concern among the international community as the United
Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) prepares to pull out on
Janaury 15.

The crucial meeting of the two Nepal coalition
partners was attended by CPN-UML President Jhalanath Khanal,
Prime Minister Nepal, Poudyal and Nidhi.

Nepali Congress spokesman Arjun Narsingh KC asked
the CPN-UML to side with "democratic forces" and not with the
main opposition Maoists.

"If the UML wants to show its democratic credential it
should continue its alliance with the democratic forces and
not take side of the Maoists," Narsingh said.

He pointed out his party has supported the CPN-UML-led
government for more than a year and now it is the turn of the
UML to lend support to form a Nepali Congress-led government.

CPN-UML leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari said that the
UML’s position of seeking the withdrawal of Poudyal remains
intact.

It is learnt that during the meeting convened between
the UCPN (Maoist) and the CPN-UML earlier on Monday, an
understanding was reached to vote against Poudyal if Nepali
Congress fails to withdraw him from the election.

PTI