No Nepal PM even after fifth attempt

Kathmandu, Aug. 23: Nepal’s legislators on Monday rejected Maoist chief, Mr Prachanda, and his NC rival, Mr Ram Chandra Poudyal, for the fifth time in the prime ministerial elections, plunging the country into a deeper political crisis in the absence of a government.

Mr Prachanda, 55, a former prime minister, managed to bag only 246 votes, with 111 members opposing his candidature. Mr Poudyal, 65, also failed to touch the magic figure of 301, receiving just 124 votes in favour and 243 against.

Out of the total 563 legislators who participated in the voting, 206 members, mostly from Madhesi parties, remained neutral. During the fourth round of voting on August 6, Mr Prachanda had secured 213 votes while Mr Poudyal got 122.

The CPN-UML with the strength of 109 and the Madhesi alliance with the combine strength of 84 and other smaller parties had earlier decided to remain neutral. The Madhesi alliance of four parties — Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF), MPRF–Democratic, Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhavana Party — had maintained they would back the party that provided a clear roadmap to conclude the peace process and addressed demands of the Indian-origin community from the southern Terai region, including greater economic and political rights for them.

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