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Nepal PM poll remains deadlocked

Despite having only one candidate in fray, Nepali lawmakers failed to elect a new prime minister for the eighth time today due to abstention of 410 of the 599 members of parliament.

world Updated: Sep 26, 2010 17:15 IST
Utpal Parashar

Despite having only one candidate in fray, Nepali lawmakers failed to elect a new prime minister for the eighth time on Sunday due to abstention of 410 of the 599 members of parliament.



Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel, the lone candidate, secured 116 of the 189 votes polled. A candidate needs 300 votes to win.



The next round of voting would take place on September 30.



The seventh round of voting had taken place 19 days ago. But despite the long gap, parties failed to agree on a consensus candidate for the post.



Earlier in the day, Maoist party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ officially withdrew his candidature from the election.



After seven failed attempts, the former prime minister had announced his decision to back out following a deal with CPN-UML, the third largest party in parliament.



As part of the deal both Maoists (237 members) and CPN-UML (108 members) had decided to abstain from taking part in the poll process till a way out through consensus is reached.



Like previous rounds, United Democratic Madhesi Forum, the three-party group of Madhes-based parties with 57 members, remained neutral in today’s voting as well.



Nepal’s interim constitution allows repeated voting till a candidate is elected as prime minister. No new candidate can enter the fray midway.



Seeking to end the impasse, Maoists and CPN-UML had asked Constituent Assembly Chairman Subhash Nemwang to amend the constitution. But it can’t be done till every candidate withdraws.



Despite mounting pressure to quit, Poudel has refused to withdraw his candidacy till consensus is reached on who would head the next government.



Nepal is in the process of electing its 34th prime minister after Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June to make way for a consensus-based coalition government.



But due to the sustained deadlock, the country is without an effective government and the delayed peace process and drafting of the new constitution have also got affected.