Belying hopes of a resolution, the seventh round of the deadlocked prime ministerial poll in Nepal failed yet again on Tuesday.
Although there was expectation that Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal could win with support from some Madhesi parties he failed to secure the 300 votes needed for victory.
Dahal secured support of 252 lawmakers (10 more than sixth round) while 110 voted against him and 159 remained neutral.
The second candidate—Nepali Congress vice president Ram Chandra Poudel secured 119 votes in favour, 245 MPs voted against him and 151 remained neutral.
Nepali lawmakers will again attempt to elect the next prime minister after a gap of 18 days on September 26.
Maoists were hoping for a win on Tuesday as there was indication that 25 MPs from Madhesi Janadhikar Forum would vote for Dahal.
The MJF had broken away from United Democratic Madhesi Forum, a group of four Madhesi parties with 82 lawmakers, ahead of the sixth round of voting saying it wanted to end the deadlock.
But the Maoist hopes were dashed as MJF remained neutral in today’s voting. The three other constituents of UDMF with 57 lawmakers also took a neutral stance like earlier occasions.
The decision of UDMF as well as CPN-UML (108 votes) to remain neutral in the prime ministerial election is the main reason why there has been no way out of the impasse even after seven rounds of voting.
Nepal is in the process of electing its 34th prime minister after Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June to make way for a coalition government based on consensus among the major parties.