After failing to elect a new prime minister on Monday despite five rounds of vote spread over a month, Nepal's parliament will now hold an unprecedented sixth round of election Sep 5 amidst growing protests at home and concern among the world community.
It is likely to be the last chance for Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and his sole rival, former deputy prime minister Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress, to win the support of at least half the 599 MPs or clear the decks for a different solution.
Nepal has been without a government since Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June due to Maoist pressure.
Though the former communist guerrillas were able to force the communist leader's resignation, they have however failed to form the new government after the communists retaliated.
Nepal's communist party, the third largest in parliament with 109 MPs, has been sitting neutral all through the voting, resulting in neither contestant crossing the 300-vote mark needed to win.
The chance of a decisive victory has also been marred by a group of four ethnic parties, who together comprise the fourth-largest bloc in parliament, trying to drive a hard bargain for itself and refusing to vote till its demands are met.
If the communists and the Madhesi parties' front refuse to relent, the sixth round of election will also end in fiasco.
Though indigenous organisations have been demonstrating against the major parties' single-minded war for power to the detriment of national interests, the leaders show no sign of relenting and trying to reach an understanding.
Though Nepal heaved a sigh of relief after the Maoist insurgency ended in 2006, the peace process since then has been obstructed by the parties' jockeying for power.
As a result, Nepal still bears the burden of two armies. Nearly 20,000 guerrilla fighters from the Maoists' People's Liberation Army are yet to be rehabilitated.
The parties also failed to announce a new constitution in May. Now the extended deadline of May 2011 is in jeopardy given the chronic failure to elect a new prime minister.