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  • Nepal politics: Poudyal fails House test in 11th round; uncertainty remains

    Published on October 8, 2010

    Political uncertainty over a new government in Nepal deepened with lawmakers failing to elect a new prime minister for the eleventh time in a row Thursday, as the sole candidate R C Poudyal of the Nepali Congress was unable to garner a simple majority.

    More than three months after the 22-party coalition led by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, 11 rounds of polls have so far failed to elect a new leader.

    The country has been without a government since 30th June, when Nepal stood down under intense pressure from the Maoists.

    65-year-old Poudyal secured 104 votes in favour, far below the magic figure of 301 in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, which functions as the country’s interim parliament.

    Of the 145 lawmakers who took part in the voting Thursday, 40 remained neutral, while one voted against the Nepali Congress leader. The next round of voting will be held on 10th October.

    The Parliament’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) has decided to hold the 12th and 13th round of prime ministerial election on 10th and 26th October respectively.

    No clear result was expected after the single largest party UCPN-Maoist, with 238 seats, and CPN-UML with 109 lawmakers, the third highest number of seats, decided to stay away from the election process.

    Nepali Congress, which has 114 members, has ruled out the possibility of forming the next government under the Maoists’ leadership as the former rebels have not yet laid down arms, managed their combatants and dissolved the paramilitary organisation of their youth wing, Young Communist League.

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

    55-year-old former prime minister failed to get majority support in Parliament seven times in a row, forcing him to end his bid for the top post.

    As per the parliamentary law, the elections should continue till a candidate secures a simple majority in the House.

    The major parties had failed to agree on a consensus candidate for the post of the Prime Minister, leading to the process of electing a new leader through majority vote in the Assembly.

    The Maoists, who waged a decade-long insurgency, joined mainstream politics after the 2006 peace deal with the interim government led by G. P. Koirala, won the largest number of parliamentary seats in the April 2008 elections.

    The Maoists led by Prachanda formed a government, but it later collapsed after a dispute with President Ram Baran Yadav over their attempt to replace the then army chief Rukmangad Katwal.


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