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Nepal

Nepal still without leader after sixth parliamentary vote

Nepali prime ministerial candidate Ram Chandra Paudel (R) talks to fellow party member Bimelendra Nidhi after casting his vote.
Nepali prime ministerial candidate Ram Chandra Paudel (R) talks to fellow party member Bimelendra Nidhi after casting his vote. Reuters
4 min

Nepal's parliament failed for the sixth time to elect a new prime minister in a vote on Sunday. A significant three-party coalition abstained from the ballot, making a solution all but impossible.

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Former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal stepped down on 30 June, under pressure
from the opposition Maoist party to pave the way for a new power-sharing government.

The Maoist party leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, known as Prachanda, is now running against Ram Chandra Poudel, the chairman of the centrist Nepali Congress - the second-largest party in parliament.

Correspondent Binod Bhattarai in Kathmandu

But neither has been able to secure the backing of other parties to form a coalition government.

Dahal secured 240 votes to Poudel's 122 in Sunday's poll, in which the third-largest party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, remained neutral.

One of the main sticking points, says RFI's correspondent in Kathmandu Binod Bhattarai, is the Maoists' refusal to give up their private militia, a legacy of Nepal's long civil war.

"The other parties don't trust the Maoists with being in power, leading the government and also having their own combattants," Bhattarai told RFI.

For the past two months, Nepal has been ruled by a caretaker government with limited powers.

The situation has delayed the release of the annual budget, in one of the poorest countries in the world.

"The government is the biggest spender, so that's going to affect a lot of construction work and a lot of jobs," says Bhattarai.

Speaker of the house Subas Nembang warned on Sunday that Nepal could be heading for "a serious crisis" if the impasse is not resolved.

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