Nepal's Parliament failed to elect a Prime Minister for the fourth time. Both Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda' and Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel could not obtain a simple majority of 301 votes in the House of 601 as required by the interim constitution.

Mr. Prachanda got 213 votes in his favour. While 99 MPs voted against him, 156 MPs stayed neutral. During the vote, only 468 MPs participated in the proceedings since many parliamentarians came late. Unlike the previous rounds which had got delayed, voting started almost at the scheduled time of 3 pm on Friday.

Mr. Poudel got 122 votes in his favour. While 245 MPs cast their ballot against him, 194 stayed neutral; 561 MPs registered presence during the vote for Mr. Poudel.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) stayed neutral. The UML has said it will only support a government based on consensus that can finish the peace process and complete the task of constitution writing. The UDMF has maintained that neither NC nor Maoists have provided them with a firm commitment to the demands related to the Madhes, and argued in favour of a process to form a consensus government.

As per the decision of the Business Advisory Committee of the house, a fifth round of voting has been scheduled for August 18.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister's special envoy Shyam Saran returned to Delhi on Friday afternoon. He paid a courtesy call on President Ram Baran Yadav — this was his second meeting with the head of the state during his visit.

Dr. Yadav's press adviser, Rajendra Dahal told The Hindu, “The President emphasised that a democratic India should support in strengthening democratic processes and democratic institutions in Nepal. This would be in the best interests of both countries.”

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