Despite efforts by India to break the ongoing deadlock among political parties, Nepali lawmakers failed to elect a new prime minister for the fourth time on Friday.
Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ secured 231 votes while Nepali Congress parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel got support from only 122 lawmakers.
A candidate needs 300 votes to win.
The outcome was expected as CPN-UML, which has 108 members and United Democratic Madhesi Front—the umbrella group of four Madhes-based parties that have 83 candidates abstained from voting.
Today’s voting however brought out some interesting outcomes as ‘Prachanda’ failed to get support of some colleagues and few Nepali Congress lawmakers abstained from voting against the Maoist candidate.
Maoists have 239 members, eight more than the number of votes ‘Prachanda’ got and despite NC having 114 members, only 99 of them voted against the motion to elect the Maoist chief.
“There’s no question of withdrawing from the contest. I am sure we will able to get a positive result the next time,” said Poudel after voting was over.
The next round of voting will take place on August 18.
On Wednesday, former Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran had reached Kathmandu to find a way out of the deadlock and take the peace and constitution drafting processes forward.
Sent as PM Manmohan Singh’s special envoy, Saran had several rounds of meetings with Maoists, NC, CPN-UML and Madhesi leaders before flying back to New Delhi on Friday.
Nepal is in the process of selecting its 34th PM by majority vote as there was no consensus among parties on forming a coalition government after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June.
As per provisions of the interim constitution, the voting process would continue till a candidate secures the votes required to win. No new candidate can enter the fray midway.