No clear winner in sight ahead of Nepal PM electio

Nepal`s PM Jhal Nath Khanal resigned on August 14 after failing to make concrete process in the peace process.

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2011, 23:41 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepalese political parties on Saturday
stepped up last-minute consultations ahead of the election for
a new prime minister even as there was no clear winner in
sight, with both the Maoist candidate Baburam Bhattarai and
his Nepali Congress rival RC Poudyal unable to get the open
support of the key parties.

CPN-UML, the third largest party, and the Terai-based
Madhesi parties remained undecided on who they would support
in the election for the prime minister tomorrow.

The CPN-UML has called a meeting of its Standing
Committee today where they hope to take a decision on the
issue. Similarly, the Joint Democratic Madhesi Front (JDMF),
an alliance of the Terai based parties with 66 seats, is
meeting CPN-UML leaders today to finalise its decision.

The Maoists have held meetings with the CPN-UML and the
fringe parties while Nepali Congress held consultations with
JDMF and small leftist groups in an attempt to woo their
support.

No party holds a majority of seats in the 601-member
parliament. The UCPN-Maoist, which has 236 seats in the
Constituent Assembly, is largest party in the Assembly, which
acts as the country`s interim Parliament. The second largest
Nepali Congress has 114 members in the House followed by
CPN-UML, which has 107 members.

Prime Minister Jhal Nath Khanal resigned on August 14
after failing to make "concrete" process in the peace process.
Khanal was elected after 17 rounds of polls in Parliament over
a period of seven months.

Jaya Prakash Gupta, president of Madhesi Peoples Rights
Forum (Republic), an ally of the JDMF, indicated that the
Front may put its weight behind Maoist candidate Bhattarai if
the former rebels show more flexibility toward addressing the
demands of the Madhesi people and commitment to the peace
process.

Meanwhile, the Nepali Congress today unveiled an 11-point
concept paper which envisages giving a momentum to the stalled
peace process, drafting a new constitution and addressing the
outstanding issues linked to the integration of the former
Maoists combatants, including modality, norms and standards
and rank harmonization of the former PLA fighters.

The main opposition party said it would give priority to
the peace process and constitution drafting processes, good
governance and economic progress if its candidate is elected
to lead the next government.

The Maoists floated a peace proposal on Thursday to
complete the integration of their former combatants with the
security forces within 45 days.

The Parliament was directed by President Ram Baran Yadav
to elect a new Prime Minister through majority vote after
political parties failed to nominate a consensus candidate to
lead a national unity government.

As per the amended regulations, there will not be more
than three rounds of voting. No lawmaker will be allowed to
stay neutral or boycott the election.

PTI