Nepal election stalemate, a setback for Maoists

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Kathmandu, July 22(ANI): Nepal's failure to elect a Prime Minister on Wednesday is being seen as a setback to the Maoists, who had paralyzed the country earlier this year by organizing strikes and blockades to force the resignation of former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

UCPN-Maoist party's Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, Nepali Congress party's Ram Chandra Poudel nor Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist)'s Jhalanath Khanal -the three major candidates - won the necessary majority vote from the parliamentary members in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

In demanding Madhav Kumar's resignation, the Maoists had insisted that a government led by Prachanda, the Maoist prime minister from August 2008 to May 2009, would inject momentum into the process in the Himalayan nation.

Some analysts believe that the election's outcome was the result of infighting between the Maoists.

"The days leading to the election also exposed fissures in the Maoist party with several senior Maoist leaders openly saying that as Prachanda is unacceptable to rival parties as prime ministerial candidate, his more popular deputy Baburam Bhattarai should be nominated as candidate," The Christian Science Monitor quoted Kiran Nepal, editor of Himalkhabarpatrika, a fortnightly newsmagazine, as saying.

"In the eyes of the public, the Maoist party is no longer a solidly unified party. This is another area where the Maoists have lost," he added.

A runoff between Prachanda and Paudel is now set for Friday, as Khanal withdrew from the voting process after he failed to secure support of two-thirds of the Parliament. (ANI)

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