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Nepal parties ready for fresh tussle over deadlocked PM poll

Forty five days after the 16th round of voting, political parties in Nepal are getting ready for a fresh tussle over the deadlocked prime ministerial poll.

world Updated: Dec 18, 2010 13:01 IST
Utpal Parashar

Forty five days after the 16th round of voting, political parties in Nepal are getting ready for a fresh tussle over the deadlocked prime ministerial poll.

But the special parliament session called by President Ram Baran Yadav on Sunday at behest of opposition Maoists to resolve the deadlock is unlikely to yield any outcome.

While Maoists and like-minded parties want the poll process to start afresh, Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist)-led ruling coalition is against it.

Maoists also want amendment of constitutional provisions that require unending rounds of voting to elect a PM till one candidate secures majority.

"Members of the ruling coalition have agreed to vote out the Maoist proposal to start the PM poll afresh," said CPN-UML leader Pradeep Gyawali.

While the session may prove unfruitful, there's fresh hope within the ruling coalition of forming the next government as CPN-UML, which remained neutral in previous rounds of voting, has decided to vote in future.

At present Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel is the lone candidate in the poll and NC and CPN (UML)-the leading partners in the coalition-are discussing who should lead the next government.

Support of CPN-UML, the third largest party after Maoists and NC with 108 MPs, is crucial for Poudel to secure the prime minister's post.

"There's likelihood of a NC-CPN (UML) government with support of Madhesi parties once there's agreement on who would head the government and for how long," said a senior NC leader.

A fresh Supreme Court ruling terming decision by some parties to abstain or remain neutral in previous rounds of voting as unconstitutional has added a new turn to the impasse. The apex court ruled that Poudel - the lone candidate - can not be declared as elected unopposed.

The previous session of parliament was prorogued on November 19 after Maoist lawmakers manhandled finance minister Surendra Pandey while he was about to present the annual budget.

Nepal has been without an effective government since June 30. The deadlock has affected the peace process and constitution drafting-both of which have to be completed within May 28 next year.