No clear cut winner in race for Nepal PM`s post amid deadlock
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 20:35
Kathmandu: Nepali Congress and UCPN-Maoist, who are seeking to form the next government, are locked in a last-minute negotiations with other political parties, amid indications that Maoist chief Prachanda and his rival R.C Poudyal are yet to garner a majority support in the fifth round of parliamentary vote for a new premier.

As in the earlier four rounds of voting in the House, the third largest party CPN-UML and the Terai-based Madhesi alliance with 84 lawmakers, have decided to remain neutral during the key House voting tomorrow.

Hectic consultations are under way among major political parties ahead of election, with the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML trying to woo the CPN-UML and the Madhesi parties.

During his meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Poudyal asked the CPN-UML not to remain neutral and to extend support to the Nepali Congress, sources said.

However, Pradip Gyawali, a standing committee member of CPN-UML, feels that the deadlock will continue tomorrow.

"The fifth Prime Ministerial run-off scheduled to be held in Kathmandu on Wednesday is also unlikely to elect a new Prime Minister," said Pradip Gyawali, standing committee member of CPN-UML, at a function in the capital today.

"I don’t think that the fifth round of election for the post of prime minister will yield any result," said Gyawali.

He underlined the need to "focus on the main agenda of the peace process and completing the task of drafting the constitution rather than focusing on who should lead the government".

Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Nepali Congress central committee member, said political consensus is the main issue at the moment and it cannot be brought about without managing the arms and the armies of the Maoists.

Sitaula, who ruled out the possibility of Nepali Congress withdrawing from the Prime Ministerial race, asked the Maoists to sincerely implement the past agreements and accords including the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accord in order to create an atmosphere of trust.

"There is still a possibility of forming a government through democratic alliance and If Nepali Congress forms government under its leadership it will also try to accommodate the Maoists," he said.

The UCPN-Maoist, which is largest single party in the House, has claimed the right to form a new government under its leadership.

"If we get support from the CPN-UML then we will be in a position to form a two third majority government," said Dev Gurung, UCPN-Maoist standing committee member.

"If UML is not prepared to join a Maoist-led government then we are also open to discuss about forming a CPN-UML-led government with the support of the Maoists," he said.

Gurung asked the Nepali Congress to withdraw its candidate as there is little possibility of forming a government under its leadership.

The Maoists is the only party which is capable of leading a government in this transitional period and drafting the constitution on time, Gurung claimed.

The Madhesi front of four parties -- Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF), MPRF?Democratic, Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhavana Party -- and most other smaller parties have decided not to caste their votes during the election.

On August 6, lawmakers failed in their fourth bid to elect a new premier, with Prachanda and Poudyal failing to secure a simple majority.

55-year-old Prachanda, a former Prime Minister, managed to bag only 213 votes while 99 members opposed his candidature in the poll in the 601-strong Parliament.

Poudyal, 65, also failed to touch the magic figure of 301, receiving just 122 votes in favour and 245 against, forcing Speaker Subhash Nemwang to announce August 18 as the date for the fifth round of election.

The country has been in political limbo for over seven weeks following the resignation of Nepal on June 30 amid intense Maoists' pressure.

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

The Assembly, which functions as the country's interim parliament, has already failed four times in the last seven weeks to elect a new prime minister for the troubled young republic, which has been plagued by political instability in recent years.


First Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 20:35

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