Nepal`s top political parties field leaders for PM election

Three top leaders from Nepal`s main political parties entered the fray for a Prime Ministerial contest.

Updated: Jul 20, 2010, 19:01 PM IST

Kathmandu: Three top leaders from Nepal`s
main political parties today entered the fray for a Prime
Ministerial contest as the Constituent Assembly prepares to
elect a leader by simple majority after a prolonged political
deadlock and lack of consensus.

UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal `Prachanda`,
Nepali Congress leader vice President Ram Chandra Poudel and
CPN-UML chief Jhalanath Khanal submitted their candidatures
for the election scheduled for tomorrow.

The four Madhesi parties, however, have decided not to
field candidates for tomorrow`s election by a 599 member
Constituent Assembly.

The Madhesi front said they would support the
candidate who will be ready to address all the Madhes-based

A candidate will need 300 votes to be elected as the
next prime minister.

Prachanda`s candidacy was proposed by Maoist
vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai and seconded by Narayankaji
Shrestha. In case of the Nepali Congress candidate, the name
was proposed by Sher Bahadur Deuba and seconded by K D Gurung.

The candidacy of Khanal was proposed UML leader Madhav
Kumar Nepal and seconded by Bishnu Paudel, the deputy leader
of the party.

The agreement over Khanal by the Communist party
heading Nepal`s caretaker government came after a marathon
meeting after reports said it was divided on heading a
coalition under its president.

Amid consultations among political parties to form a
government, the Maoists said they would support a "progressive
front" if it failed to lead a coalition.

Maoists` vice president Shrestha has said that his
party had decided to back the government under UML chairman
Jhala Nath Khanal if it fails to lead the next coalition.

Persistent protests by the Maoists had forced Madhav
Kumar Nepal to step down as the prime minister and make way
for consultations for a government.

But, as parties failed to arrive at a consensus
candidate for prime minister, the President asked them to
elect a leader by simple majority.