Prachanda defeated for the 5th time

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Kathmandu: Even after an unprecedented five rounds of vote, Nepal’s Parliament on August 23 failed to elect a new Prime Minister with Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda unable to muster simple majority in Parliament.

Prachanda, who had entered the ring with the hope that he would be supported by the ethnic parties from the Terai plains, proved to have been deluded, garnering only 246 votes in the 599-member parliament.

The 55-year-old former revolutionary, who failed to win in the four earlier rounds though his Maoist party is the largest in parliament, had told the media he had been able to garner the support of the fourth largest group, a bloc of four ethnic or Madhesi parties from the Terai plains with 82 lawmakers.

However, the man, who led a guerilla war against the state successfully for 10 years, failed to triumph in the Parliament vote with 111 MPs refusing to support him and 206 sitting neutral.

Prachanda, whose party has 236 MPs, needed only 64 more votes to become the  new Prime Minister, a post lying vacant since Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June due to intense Maoist pressure.

But though winning the election in 2008, he now finds it impossible to win the vote in Parliament as the Madhesi bloc largely abstained from voting as well as the third largest party, the communists, whose 109 lawmakers could have made a difference.

A new crisis looms close next month when the tenure of the UN agency helping in the peace process comes to an end.
The long crisis raises fresh doubts about Nepal’s ability to implement a new constitution next year.

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