Prachanda set to lock horns with Poudel for PM`s post

Nepal`s Maoist supremo Prachanda and Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel are set to lock horns.

Updated: Jul 22, 2010, 21:00 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal`s Maoist supremo
Prachanda and Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel are
set to lock horns again for the Prime Minister`s post, but
with no clear winner in sight as CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath
Khanal said his party will not vote in the run-off poll.

A fresh vote for a new leader will take place on Wednesday
as ordered by House Speaker Subash Nemwang after lawmakers
failed to elect a new Prime Minister.

The House rejected both Maoist chief Prachanda and his
Nepali Congress rival Poudel in yesterday`s election that
required candidates to secure simple majority in the
601-member Parliament.

58-year-old Prachanda received 242 votes in favour and
114 against, failing to reach the magic figure of 301 to win
the poll, weeks after Madhav Kumar Nepal of CPN-UML resigned
as Prime Minister under Maoist pressure.

Narayankaji Shrestha, a senior leader of the Maoists,
was quoted as saying that smaller political parties, which he
did not name, have agreed to support Prachanda.

Khanal, who quit the prime ministerial race yesterday
after failing to secure two-third majority, said his party UML
is in favour of a consensus candidate and will remain neutral
and not vote in the poll.

"We have 391 Constituent Assembly (CA) members?
support for our leadership for the new PM, but is not adequate
for two-thirds of the Constituent Assembly and we decided not
to contest for the new government on majority basis," Khanal
was quoted as saying by the Himalayan Times online.

Ishwor Pokharel, the CPN-UML general secretary, said
Maoist-led government could not be formed as long as they do
not abide by the past pacts and agreements and transform
themselves into a civilian party.

Meanwhile, Poudel, who secured only 124 votes, was
"confident" of being elected as the prime minister in the

He said the consultations with other parties have been
positive and he is "quite hopeful" of winning the prime
ministerial race. However, he not explain how he would get the

He faces UCPN-Maoist chairman Prachanda, who during
the prime ministerial election in 2008 had received the
support of 20 parties and crossed two-third majority with 464
votes in the House.

Prachanda today stepped up consultations to garner a
majority as he met Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N)
party chief to seek support.

CPN-UML prime ministerial candidate Khanal said the
run-off will also turn out to be another fiasco.

"This election is going to be another disaster. It
won`t result in formation of any type of government --simple
majority or that of two-third," Khanal said.

"CPN-UML is not going for majority system. Installing
a majority government means peace and constitution won`t be
achieved," he was quoted as saying by the nepalnews online.