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Nepal headed for another round of PM election

world Updated: Jan 20, 2011 18:03 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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Nepal seems headed for another round of prime ministerial polls unless the three major political parties reach a quick-fix solution on heading the next government.

The week-long deadline given by President Ram Baran Yadav expires on Friday, but despite their public postures seeking consensus, all three parties are adamant on securing the PM’s seat.

A meeting of Nepali Congress, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) leaders held on Thursday failed to make any headway.

According to , Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal is insisting that his party should be given the PM’s post as it is the largest in parliament.

Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala argued that since both Maoists and CPN (UML) have headed governments after the 2008 general election, it is his party’s turn.

And CPN (UML) chairman Jhalanath Khanal says his party is ready to support a government led by either NC or Maoists. But if that doesn’t happen, they should be given the leadership role.

The leaders will meet again on Friday, but chances of any agreement appear slim. If that happens, the President will order a fresh round of voting in parliament to elect the PM by majority vote.

Nepal has been without an effective government since June last year. Despite 16 rounds of voting to elect a new prime minister, differences among the three parties have failed to break the deadlock.

The seemingly unending rounds of voting ended earlier this month with lone candidate NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel withdrawing from the race.

Nepal’s interim constitution allows unending rounds of voting to elect a PM. The process has to continue till a candidate emerges as winner or till the last candidate remains in fray.

A five member parliamentary committee formed to amend the rules to make PM election more result oriented has also failed to make much headway due to different views of the three major parties.

Maoists insist that voting for all candidates should be done separately and the two leading contenders after the first round should remain in a run-off.

Nepali Congress wants simultaneous voting for all candidates and the two leading vote scores should engage in a face-off.

CPN (UML) wants all lawmakers allowed the chance to vote for a candidate of their choice and all candidates to remain in fray for a second round run-off.