Prachanda quits PM race, Nepal Maoists to support Khanal
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
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.