Prachanda, Poudyal defeated in PM poll; next vote on Aug 18

Nepalese Parl`s 4th bid to elect a PM failed as both Prachanda & Poudyal failed to win majority.

Last Updated: Aug 06, 2010, 18:31 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepalese Parliament`s fourth bid
to elect a Prime Minister fell flat on Friday as both Maoist chief
Prachanda and his NC rival Ram Chandra Poudyal failed to win
simple majority in the 601-strong House, plunging the country
into a deeper political crisis in the absence of a government.

55-year-old Prachanda, a former Prime Minister, managed
to bag only 213 votes, with 99 members opposing his
candidature.

Interestingly, 26 Maoist MPs did not turn up for the
voting, which came more than five weeks after Prime Minister
Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned following intense Maoist pressure.

Poudyal, 65, also failed to touch the magic figure of
301, receiving just 122 votes in favour and 245 against,
forcing the House to fix another round of voting for August
18.

Today`s election came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh`s special envoy Shyam Saran held hectic parleys with top
leaders of Nepal in an effort to defuse the political tension
in the country.

During the third round of voting on August 2, Prachanda
had secured 259 votes while Poudyal got 124.

Hours before the fourth round of voting on Friday, a
smaller Communist party having nine members in Parliament
witnessed a split.

The new party named CPN-ML (Socialist) was formed after
the split of the CPN-Marxist Leninist led by C P Mainali, who
accused the Maoists of hatching conspiracy to divide his
group.

Ahead of the voting, the CPN-UML with the strength of
109 and the Madhesi alliance with the combine strength of 84
and other smaller parties decided to remain neutral.

The Madhesi alliance of four parties -- Madhesi People`s
Rights Forum (MPRF), MPRF Democratic, Terai Madhes Democratic
Party and Sadbhavana Party -- had maintained they would back
the party that provided a clear roadmap to conclude the peace
process and addressed demands of the Indian-origin community
from the southern Terai region, including greater economic and
political rights for them.

However, the two major parties in the fray have refused
to give a clear commitment to the Madhesi parties on declaring
the southern plains as a single autonomous region.

The country has been in political limbo since the
June 30 resignation of Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is currently
heading a caretaker government.

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 first round of voting for Prime Minister was held on
July 21 while the second round took place on July 23. Both
Prachanda and Poudyal had been defeated in all four rounds so
far.

The fourth round of voting in Parliament commenced as per
schedule at 3 pm local time. Many MPs turned up late as the
previous rounds of elections had been delayed by 3-4 hours.

As none of the two candidates was elected, Speaker
Subhash Nemwang announced August 18 as the date for holding
next round of election for the post of Prime Minister.

Prachanda received the lowest number of votes this time
compared to previous three rounds of elections, in what is
being seen as a major setback to Maoists.

Nepalese lawmakers have so far failed to elect a successor
to Madhav Kumar Nepal, who had resigned as Prime Minister to
pave the way for forming a national consensus government.

PTI