Parliament fails to elect new PM - Politics

Parliament fails to elect new PM

KATHMANDU August 03, 2010- Even several rounds of meeting between parties,  so much of discussions regarding the demands of each other and voting for third round, Parliament failed to elect a New PM for the country. Fourth round of election to be held on Friday 06 August again.

Nepal’s parliament failed Monday to elect a new prime minister for the third time, with lawmakers divided over whether to return the controversial Maoist party leader to power.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal — better known as Prachanda or “the fierce one” — won the highest number of votes in the two-way race against centrist Nepali Congress chief Ram Chandra Poudel.

But he failed to win the outright majority he needed to win back the position he lost 14 months ago when his Maoist-led government fell after just eight months in office.

Dahal took 259 votes in the election, which was delayed for several hours to give party leaders time to broker a last-minute deal, while Poudel won 124.

The 601-member parliament had already failed twice to elect a new prime minister for the troubled young republic, which has been plagued by political instability in recent years.

The last government lasted little more than a year and collapsed after failing to meet a deadline for the completion of a new constitution aimed at turning the page on a bloody civil war between Maoist rebels and the state.

Nepal is still struggling to recover from the decade-long conflict, and there are fears about the impact of a prolonged leadership vacuum in the one of the world’s poorest countries.

The Maoists transformed themselves into a political party after laying down their arms in 2006, winning elections two years later and voting to abolish the country’s 240-year-old monarchy.

But their government, led by Dahal, collapsed after just eight months in a row over the integration of their former fighters into the national army.

The Maoists had hoped before the vote to win over an alliance of parties representing the Madhesi minority ethnic group, who live in the Terai area of southern Nepal and have historically been excluded from national politics.

But the parties, who together hold 82 of the seats in parliament, said more negotiations were needed before they could pledge their support to the former rebels.

“We realize the Maoists come closest to meeting our demands,” the leader of the alliance Upendra Yadav told journalists after the vote.

“But we still need more time to talk to them, so we decided to remain neutral in today’s election, and we will hold further talks in the coming days.”

Nepal’s parliament, or Constituent Assembly, was elected in May 2008 with a two-year mandate to complete the country’s post-war peace process and draft a new national constitution.

But it has failed to complete either task, hampered by disagreements between the Maoists and their rivals.

Lawmakers voted on May 31 to extend its term to give them time to complete the constitution and the peace process, but little progress has been made since then.

Source: AFP