Prachanda loses Nepal PM race (Second Lead)By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
KATHMANDU - The man who had fathered a potent 10-year revolution in Nepal, Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, crashed out of the race for the republic’s new prime minister after failing to win even simple majority in Wednesday’s election.
The 55-year-old former revolutionary watched impassively as the chairman of Nepal’s parliament announced that he had won only 242 votes while 114 MPs voted against him and 236 decided to abstain.
It was a humiliating snub for the man who won overwhelmingly in 2008 to lead the first Maoist-led government in Nepal.
There were indications that things would not go the Maoists’ way when the election started nearly five hours after schedule.
Most of the smaller parties flayed Prachanda and his two contenders, accusing them of lusting for power and forgetting national interests.
Nepal’s prime ministerial poll turned into a farce Wednesday after the opposition Maoist party withdrew support to the Communists and a regional bloc decided to abstain from voting, leaving the three contestants in an impossible situation with none able to claim majority support.
In utter disregard for parliament, the squabbling parties held parliament hostage, as they have been doing repeatedly since the house was elected in 2008, delaying the election scheduled at 11 a.m. and continuing with negotiations heedless of the other parties.
However, Prachanda or the Maoists could bounce back if his contenders too fail to win 301 votes. In that case a second round of polls would be held probably on Friday.
The other two contestants in the fray are Communist leader Jhalanath Khanal and democrat leader Ram Chandra Poudel.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)