No end to political uncertainty in Nepal, Poudyal fails House test

Last Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 18:56

Kathmandu: Political uncertainty over a
new government in Nepal deepened with lawmakers failing to
elect a new prime minister for the eleventh time in a row
today, as the sole candidate R C Poudyal of the Nepali
Congress was unable to garner a simple majority.

More than three months after the 22-party coalition
led by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, 11 rounds
of polls have so far failed to elect a new leader. The country
has been without a government since June 30, when Nepal stood
down under intense pressure from the Maoists.

65-year-old Poudyal secured 104 votes in favour, far
below the magic figure of 301 in the 601-member Constituent
Assembly, which functions as the country`s interim parliament.
Of the 145 lawmakers who took part in the voting today, 40
remained neutral, while one voted against the Nepali Congress
leader.
The next round of voting will be held on October 10.

The Parliament`s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) has decided
to hold the 12th and 13th round of prime ministerial election
on October 10 and 26 respectively, myrepublica online, the
website of the Republic newspaper, said today.

No clear result was expected after the single largest
party UCPN-Maoist, with 238 seats, and CPN-UML with 109
lawmakers, the third highest number of seats, decided to stay
away from the election process.

Nepali Congress, which has 114 members, has ruled out
the possibility of forming the next government under the
Maoists` leadership as the former rebels have not yet laid
down arms, managed their combatants and dissolved the
paramilitary organisation of their youth wing, Young Communist
League.

Poudyal is the only candidate in the fray following
the withdrawal of Maoist chief Prachanda after a deal with the
CPN-UML on September 17 in a bid to facilitate the formation
of a national consensus government.

55-year-old former prime minister failed to get
majority support in Parliament seven times in a row, forcing
him to end his bid for the top post.

As per the parliamentary law, the elections should
continue till a candidate secures a simple majority in the
House.

The major parties had failed to agree on a consensus
candidate for the post of the Prime Minister, leading to the
process of electing a new leader through majority vote in the
Assembly.

The Maoists, who waged a decade-long insurgency,
joined mainstream politics after the 2006 peace deal with the
interim government led by GP Koirala, won the largest
number of parliamentary seats in the April 2008 elections.

The Maoists led by Prachanda formed a government, but
it later collapsed after a dispute with President Ram Baran
Yadav over their attempt to replace the then army chief
Rukmangad Katwal.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 18:56

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