Prachanda quits PM race, Nepal Maoists to support Khanal
Last Updated: Thursday, February 03, 2011, 19:58
Kathmandu: In a surprise move, Nepal Maoists' withdrew its supremo Prachanda from the Prime Ministerial race and decided to support the Communist candidate Jhala Nath Khanal, brightening his chance to command a majority in Parliament.

A last minute decision by the main Opposition CPN-Maoist to withdraw in support of Khanal, the president of CPN-UML, is likely to get elected to the post of Prime Minister, ending the over seven months deadlock.

Nepal's parliament is set to vote for a new prime minister under revised election rules designed to break a deadlock that has left the country without a government since the June 30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal under intense Maoists pressure.

Under the new rules, no lawmaker will be allowed to abstain from voting in the House.

The UCPN-Maoist has 238 seats and the CPN-UML has 108 seats in the 601 member Constituent Assembly, which acts as the country's interim Parliament.

The second largest Nepali Congress, which has put up R.C Poudyal as its candidate again, has 114 members in the House.

Bijaya Gachhadar, the president of Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum -Democratic, is also in the race.

President Ram Baran Yadav had last week directed Parliament to begin a fresh process for the election of Prime Minister on the basis of majority vote as political parties had failed to hammer out a deal to form a consensus government.

Poudyal had failed to garner a majority in 16th rounds of voting, forcing him to quit the race.

The political crisis has been hugely damaging for Nepal, which is still reeling from its decade of civil war that ended in 2006. The standoff has delayed the drafting of a new constitution and conclusion of the peace process.


First Published: Thursday, February 03, 2011, 19:58

comments powered by Disqus