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Another day of voting,but Nepal fails to elect PM

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly on Monday,in a futile round of voting,failed to elect a Prime Minister in its third attempt in a month....

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly on Monday,in a futile round of voting,failed to elect a Prime Minister in its third attempt in a month.

Both candidates — Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) chairman Prachanda and Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress — were declared “defeated” by Speaker Subhash Chandra Nembang as neither of the two could secure simple majority in the House with an effective strength of 599.

Prachanda,who secured 259 votes on favour and 114 against with 208 remaining neutral,seemed to have improved his position compared to the second round of voting held a week ago. The Nepal Peasants and Workers Party as well as the Pro-Monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N),with five votes each,are said to have voted for the Maoist party.

Poudel could secure only 124 votes in favour and 246 against,while 186 abstained.

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The United Democratic Madhesh Front — an alliance of four Madhesh-based parties — and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) with 108 members remained neutral.

The Front,which had been negotiating with both contestants,said it had received some positive response from the UCPN-M,but since there is some clarification that it needs from the party,“it will remain neutral in today’s voting”.

The CPN-UML has decided to remain neutral since it says only a consensus government can take the peace and constitution-making process to a logical conclusion.

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While the Nepali Congress chose not to respond to the two crucial demands of the UDMF,— mass recruitment of Madhesis into the Nepal Army in proportion to its population and recognition of the Madhesh region as a single province — the Maoists had categorically opposed them.

“Since the Maoists have positively responded to our other demands,we would like to sit together against and settle the differences and take a clear decision before the House goes again for voting,” said Front leader Upendra Yadav.

Meanwhile,the Nepal Army has advertised for 3,400 lying vacant,including at the officer level.

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The initiation of the recruitment process follows dismissal of a writ petition by the Supreme Court that had stated any Army recruitment was a violation of the peace accord.

“We have advertised for recruitment in the existing vacancies,and that is not going to raise the strength of the Army beyond what it was at the time of signing the peace accord,” spokesperson Ramindra Chhetri told The Indian Express.

The UCPN-M and the two UN agencies — Office of the Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Mission to Nepal — that had opposed the earlier recruitment drive are quite on the issue.

First published on: 03-08-2010 at 02:32:12 am
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