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11th round fails, Nepal PM vote again Sunday
Kathmandu, Oct 7 (IANS):
Published on 7 Oct. 2010 10:50 PM IST
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Amidst calls by frustrated members of the public to imprison all lawmakers and force them to pay compensation for playing with the nation’s future, Nepal’s parliament held an unprecedented 11th round of prime ministerial election Thursday but failed, just like the earlier rounds. The 12th round of election will now be held Sunday.
The stalemate reached its 100th day with the lone contender, former deputy prime minister Ram Chandra Poudel, failing to win the 300 votes required to form a new government and put the country out of its sufferings.
Poudel received only 104 votes, the lowest he has polled so far, while one MP voted against him and 40 stayed neutral.
It was a bleak repetition of the same scenario enacted since the eighth round of election last month after Poudel’s rival, former revolutionary chief of the opposition Maoist party Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, withdrew from the race after failing to win simple majority in the previous seven rounds of the election.
Poudel’s Nepali Congress party, however, has refused to end the fruitless election, saying it will continue with the charade till the Maoists toed the line and agreed to a time-bound peace plan.
The centrist party is asking the Maoists to disband their guerrilla army with its nearly 20,000 combatants, lay down all arms and return the public property captured during the course of their 10-year insurgency.
The Maoists, however, are avoiding a commitment and have instead forged a contentious alliance with the communists.
The new alliance is pressuring the Nepali Congress to withdraw Poudel so that a new election process can be started and they can grab power. As part of the strategy, it has begun forcing parliament to hold a series of votes in quick succession knowing fully well they will be futile.
The Nepali Congress has been seeking time before the next election so that it can resume negotiations but its proposal has been over-ridden by other parties.
From Friday, Nepal shuts down for Dashain, its biggest festival to be celebrated for 10 days.
The absence of a government has cast a shadow on the festivities with governance, and especially law and order, taking a beating.
The farcical election has also seen two public interest suits filed in Supreme Court, asking for an end to the futile exercise.

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