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Stalemate over Nepal PM poll continues

world Updated: Jul 24, 2010 00:15 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The second round of voting to elect Nepal's next Prime Minister ended without success on Friday evening as both candidates failed to secure majority votes from lawmakers.

Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' managed to get support from 241 members while Nepali Congress parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel secured 123 votes.

The outcome was on expected lines as CPN-UML, the third largest party with 108 members in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, had earlier announced its decision to abstain from voting.

Lawmakers from United Democratic Madhesi Front—the umbrella group of four Madhes-based parties that have 83 candidates also refrained from voting as the candidates failed to agree to their demands.

A candidate needs 300 votes to get elected. Maoists have 237 members in CA while Nepali Congress has 114 representatives.

Deliberations among the parties to find a last minute solution to end the stalemate ensured that the voting process that was to start at 1:00 pm got delayed by nearly six hours.

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 last month.

India is keeping a close watch on the election process. Officials state that election of "liberal-democrat" Poudel would be more beneficial for Indo-Nepal relations than 'Prachanda' who is known for his anti-India stance.

In Wednesday's first round of voting, Prachanda and Poudel had failed to secure majority and the third candidate CPN-UML chief Jhalanath Khanal withdrew from the contest at the last minute.

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.

The business advisory committee of parliament has decided to hold the third round of voting on August 2.