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Prachanda backs out of Nepal PM race

In a bid to find a way out of the deadlocked prime ministerial polls in Nepal, Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has withdrawn his candidature from the race.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2010 00:11 IST
Utpal Parashar

In a bid to find a way out of the deadlocked prime ministerial polls in Nepal, Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has withdrawn his candidature from the race.

The development follows a three-point deal signed between Maoists and CPN-UML, the third largest party in parliament, on Friday.

As part of the deal, which both parties claim would end the present impasse, Prachanda would withdraw from the contest and CPN-UML would not take part in the voting process.

“Continuing our earlier stance, we have agreed to stay away from voting till the present election process continues,” said CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal.

Despite seven rounds of voting, neither Prachanda nor Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel have managed to secure support of 300 lawmakers needed for a win.

With 235 MPs, Maoists have the highest number of lawmakers followed by Nepali Congress with 114 and CPN-UML with 108 members. The three-party Madhesi conglomeration has 57 votes.

If as per Friday’s deal Maoists withdraw from the race and stay away from the polls and CPN-UML continues to abstain, Poudel will not be able to get the votes required for a win.

But there’s still uncertainty on whether Prachanda would opt out of the contest before the next round of voting scheduled on September 26.

“It is not decided yet. We will first talk to other parties like Nepali Congress and the Madhesi outfits to find a breakthrough,” Maoist spokesperson Dinanath Sharma told HT.

Both CPN-UML and Maoists have appealed to Nepali Congress to withdraw from the contest and select the next prime minister through consensus.

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