After a gap of nearly seven months, Nepal’s parliament will witness another election on Sunday. This time to elect the country’s 35th prime minister that will help end the current political crisis.
The two candidates whose fates will be decided are Maoist vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai and Nepali Congress vice-president and parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel.
Both candidates and their parties are busy holding series of meetings with other parties with the aim of securing support. But the picture is not yet clear who will win the race.
Poudel had tasted defeat 16 consecutive times during the previous PM election before withdrawing from the contest. Bhattarai, a former finance minister, will on the other hand be trying his luck for the first time.
The first round of election to elect the prime minister will be held at 1 pm on Sunday. If no candidate gets a clear majority, another round of voting would be held the same day to arrive at a result.
A candidate needs to secure support of 298 members from the parliament’s existing strength of 594 to secure a win.
Since no party enjoys clear majority, decisions taken by Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), Madhesi forum and other fringe players would be crucial in deciding the winner.
Maoists have 236 members in parliament, Nepali Congress 114, CPN (UML) 108 and the conglomeration of Madhesi parties have 72 members.
Since parliamentary regulations make it mandatory for all lawmakers to be present and cast their votes, Sunday’s election unlike previous PM polls is expected to produce a clear winner.
Nepal plunged into fresh political turmoil after Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal resigned on August 15 to make way for a consensus based government that would speed up the peace process and drafting of the new constitution.
The deadline for both tasks ends on August 31.