Nepal's Parliament failed to elect a Prime Minister for the sixth time on Sunday. Both candidates — Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda' and Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel — were unable to obtain a simple majority in the house of 601.
Mr. Prachanda got 240 votes in his favour. 101 MPs voted against the Maoist candidate, and 163 remained neutral. 504 MPs registered their presence during the vote. Mr. Poudel got 122 in his favour while 242 opposed his candidature and 172 stayed neutral. 536 lawmakers attended the proceedings during the vote for Mr. Poudel.
A few hours before the vote, Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal led by Upendra Yadav broke ranks with the broader United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on its decision to remain neutral once again and decided to take an independent decision. But in a subsequent parliamentary party meeting, MJF decided to boycott the vote and walked out of Parliament.
MJF whip Abhishek Pratap Shah told The Hindu: “We felt it was wrong to hold the country hostage by remaining neutral at a time when it faces an economic crisis and there is a conspiracy against the Constitution-writing process. Our decision is aimed to generate pressure on all other parties to act more decisively.” Mr. Shah said MJF may vote for one of the candidates in the next round of elections.
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and the other three parties of the front, Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (Democratic), Tarai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) and Sadbhavana remained neutral once again.
After a meeting of top leaders on Sunday morning, the Maoists said they would explore ‘alternative ways' if the sixth round failed to throw up a result. “We will engage in serious discussions with the Nepali Congress, other parties, and civil society to find a solution for the present deadlock,” vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha ‘Prakash' told reporters.