KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepal’s parliament failed to elect a new prime minister for the ninth time Thursday, leaving the Himalayan nation in a political limbo that has delayed its annual budget and stalled a peace process with former insurgents.
Lone candidate Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress party failed to get half the votes of the 601-member Constituent Assembly required for election. He only managed 105 votes.
It was the ninth time the assembly has voted on a candidate since Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned as prime minister in June.
In that time, three candidates have stood for election, but the other two have since dropped out. No party has a majority in the assembly.
The 10th attempt will take place Oct. 6, Speaker Subash Newmwang announced Thursday.
The largest party — the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) — insists it has the right to lead a new coalition government, but so far has failed to attract the backing of smaller parties.
The delay in electing a new prime minister and a government has delayed approval of the national budget.
The peace process, which brought the Maoist insurgents into mainstream politics in 2006, has also stalled. Thousands of former rebels are still living in U.N.-run camps, awaiting a government decision to integrate them into the national army or try to return them to civilian life.