Nepali Congress will sit in Opposition: Poudyal

Last Updated: Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 23:54

Kathmandu: The election of Communist Party
President Jhalanath Khanal on Thursday was described as a
"catastrophe" by Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Poudyal,
who was defeated for the 17th time in the top race.

"The election will be a catastrophe for the nation,"
Poudyal, the losing candidate of the Nepal Congress in the
election, said.

Poudyal, who earlier failed to garner a majority in 16
rounds of poll in seven months, today received 122 votes in
the 601-member House.

He said the Nepali Congress will sit in the opposition
as there was no possibility of forming a consensus government
at this moment.

He said the Nepali Congres will decide on its policy
towards the new government after the meeting of its central
committee meeting of the party tomorrow, he added.

Khanal was today elected the new prime minister,
ending the seven-month deadlock over the formation of a new
government after Maoist supremo Prachanda quit the race
in his favour in a last minute deal.

60-year-old Khanal, leader of the Communist Party of
Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist), secured 368 of the 557 votes
cast in the 601-member Parliament, the speaker announced.

Senior CPN-UML leader K.P. Sharma Oli underlined the
need for other parties to be included in the coalition so that
the government can work through cooperation and collaboration.

Khanal`s party, which is the third largest party in
the parliament and leads the caretaker coalition, got support
from the main Opposition Maoist Party.

Before the election, Khanal told parliament that it
was crucial for leaders to consolidate the gains made in the
peace process and take it to its logical conclusion.

"We must move ahead very quickly or once again be
plunged into crisis," he said.

"Parliament`s main task is to draft the new national
constitution and I can assure you that we will achieve that
under my party`s leadership of the next government," he told
the lawmakers.

The election for a new prime minister today came under
revised election rules designed to break a deadlock that has
left the country without a government for seven months. The
new rules barred lawmakers from abstain from voting in the
House.

The political crisis has been hugely damaging for
Nepal, which is still reeling from its decade long civil war,
in which at least 13,000 people died.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 23:54

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