No PM in Nepal despite 12 rounds of polls for post

No PM in Nepal despite 12 rounds of polls for post

65-year-old Poudyal received 89 votes in the 601-strong Constituent Assembly, where just 119 MPs were present during the voting. One lawmaker voted against him and 29 remained neutral.

This was the lowest number of votes he has polled for the coveted post so far. A candidate needs 301 votes to secure simple majority. Maoist, who have 238 seats; CPN-UML with 109 MPs and the three main Terai-based Madhesi parties having nearly 80 lawmakers have been staying away from the election process as they want formation of a national government now.

The 13 round of election has been scheduled for October 26. The country has been in political limbo since the June 30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, which has stalled Nepal's peace process and further delayed the annual budget.

Nepalese parties have been unable to elect a new leader despite a series of polls since June 30, when Nepal stood down under intense pressure from the Maoists. Poudyal, who is the leader of the second-largest Nepali Congress (NC) party which has 114 seats in the Constituent Assembly, has refused to accept Maoists' demand to withdraw his candidature so that the process for a national government could be initiated.

Nepali Congress has ruled out the possibility of forming the next government under the Maoists' leadership till the former rebels lay down their arms, integrate their combatants with the security forces and dissolve the paramilitary organisation of their youth wing, Young Communist League, so that the peace process could be completed.

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

Prachanda, the 55-year-old former Prime Minister, failed to get majority support in Parliament seven times in a row, forcing him to withdraw from the race. As per the parliamentary law, the polls should continue till a candidate secures simple majority in the House.

The continuing political deadlock has further delayed the approval of the annual budget, bringing the country on the brink of a financial crisis.