Nepali Congress withdraws Poudyal in consensus bid

Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Jan 12 (PTI) Nepali Congress today withdrewR C Poudyal, the sole candidate in the poll for a new primeminister in a bid to end the over six months long deadlock inNepal that has derailed the country''s fragile peace process.

Nepali Congress (NC) formally decided to withdrawPoudyal amid intense pressure from its key coalition partnerCPN-UML, main opposition UCPN (Maoist) and from within theparty in a bid to build a consensus to end the deadlock thathas derailed the 2006 peace process.

An emergency meeting of the party''s powerful CentralWorking Committee (CWC) took the decision to formally withdrawPoudyal, said Prakash Man Singh, the party General Secretary.

He told the media that the party took the decisionkeeping in mind to push forward the peace process and draftingof a new constitution.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala saidthat Nepali Congress will withdraw Poudyal in a bid to end thedeadlock.

"Nepali Congress should be prepared to join governmentunder the leadership of other parties if it is not possible toform a new government under its leadership," Koirala said.

Koirala, who is also member of the powerful CentralWorking Committee (CWC), said Nepali Congress should withdrawits candidacy for "consensus" and "cooperation" with otherparties.

Koirala, however, ruled out the possibility ofMaoist-led government unless the latter gives up its arms andintegrates its paramilitary armed cadres housed in differentUN-monitored camps in the country.

"The CPN-UML should not ruin the government [by givingleadership to the Maoist now]," she added.

Nepali Congress, the second largest party in the601-member Constituent Assembly, is holding an office-bearer�smeeting today afternoon to discuss the political situation.

In a series of run-off polls since June 30, the mainopposition UCPN (Maoist) and CPN (UML) lawmakers have chosennot to vote for a prime minister while Madhesi parties optedto stay neutral.

CPN-Maoist, which ended its decade-long civil war in2006, is the single largest party with 238 seats, while NepaliCongress (NC) has 114 members in the House.

The CPN-UML, the third largest party with a strengthof 109 and the Madhesi parties with the combined strength ofsome 80 lawmakers and other smaller outfits have called for anational government.

Koirala said the new government should be formed underNepali Congress leadership to ensure successful conclusion ofpeace process and promulgation of new constitution. (MORE) PTISBP

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