Prachanda fails to win Nepal PM race again

Parliament rejects Maoist supremo, rival Poudyal

Prachanda fails to win Nepal PM race again

The 601-member Parliament will hold yet another election for the post on August 2 following the failed attempts of Wednesday and today.

After missing several deadlines, the Constituent Assembly, which was to meet at 1 pm local time on Friday, convened finally late in the evening for the run-off poll, weeks after Madhav Kumar Nepal of CPN-UML resigned as prime minister under Maoist pressure.
Fifty-eight-year-old Prachanda, a former premier, received 241 votes in favour and 113 against him, losing the election again. The lawmakers had rejected him for the post in the Wednesday election as well when he had bagged 242 votes in favour and 114 against, failing to touch the magic figure of 301.

After Prachanda’s defeat, lawmakers were asked to vote for or against Nepali Congress (NC) Vice President Poudyal, 65, who too crashed out of the race, receiving just 123 votes in favour and 243 against. On Wednesday also, he was defeated by 124-235.
The third largest party CPN-UML, the Madhesi alliance of four political parties and CPN-ML had decided to abstain from voting.

After CPN-UML candidate Jhala Nath Khanal withdrew his candidature on Wednesday, it was a direct contest between the Maoist chief and Nepali Congress leader Poudyal.
Nepal had already passed two deadlines of July 7 and July 12 set by President Ram Baran Yadav to elect a new Prime Minister, an issue which had raised concern among western nations as well as India about the stability in the nation.

Political limbo

Political analysts have warned that a delay in forming a new government could derail the 2006 peace process. “There will be chaos. All the government’s plans and policies will be affected,” an analyst said.

The country has been in political limbo since the resignation of Prime Minister Nepal, who is currently heading a caretaker government.

The major parties failed to arrive at a consensus candidate for the post of the Prime Minister, leading to the process of electing a new leader through majority vote in the Constituent Assembly, which functions as Parliament.

CPN-Maoist is the single-largest party with 238 MPs, while Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have 114 and 109 seats respectively in the Constituent Assembly, whose two-year term was extended by one year on May 28.

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