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Backgrounder: Nepal's PM elections after birth of republican state

(Xinhua)

09:31, August 29, 2011

KATHMANDU, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The election for the post of yet another prime minister was held in Nepali Legislature Parliament Sunday afternoon. Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist (UCPN-M) Vice Chairman Babu Ram Bhattarai was elected as the new prime minister of the nation.

Sunday's election is the fourth one in Nepal after the country was declared a republican state in 2008.

The first election was held in Aug. 15, 2008 in which the then Communist Party of Nepal--Maoist (now Unified Communist Party of Nepal--Maoist) Chairman Prachanda was elected the prime minister.

The election which was based on majority votes elected Prachanda with 464 out of 577 votes in his favor. He had faced Sher Bahadaur Deuba, senior leader of Nepali Congress (NC) as his opponent. Deuba garnered 113 votes.

However, on May 4, 2009, Prachanda announced his resignation after President Ram Baran Yadav reinstated the then Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rukmangad Katuwal who was sacked by Prachanda on issues relating to the integration of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into Nepal Army (NA).

Likewise, on May 23, 2009, Madhav Kumar Nepal, candidate of the Communist Party of Nepal -- Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) became the prime minister after the Legislature-Parliamentary session of the Constituent Assembly (CA) selected him.

He was chosen unopposed with the support of 22 political parties receiving the support of around 360 legislators of 22 political parties, excluding 238 legislators from UCPN-M and two from the Communist Party of Nepal (United). The UCPN-M had stepped down from the government and elections, announcing to boycott the new government.

On May 30, 2010, Nepal yet again tendered his resignation stating that it was to end the political impasse in the country. Meanwhile, there had been immense pressure from the UCPN-M for Nepal's resignation and also to make a way for a consensus government.

Although the new elections date were announced after Nepal's resignation, the parliament failed to elect a new Prime Minister until the 17th round of elections owing to several political reasons and the provision laid down in the interim constitution. The nation ran under a caretaker government for over six months inviting a lot of political impasse along with a huge financial crunch.

On February 4, 2011, the Nepali parliament elected CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal as the new PM ending the six-month long stalemate. His opponent, UCPN-M Chairman Prachanda withdrew his candidacy giving his vote to Khanal. Khanal secured 368 votes amongst the 601 parliamentarians, defeating his opponent Ram Chandra Poudel of NC and Madesh Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) ( MJF) Chairman Bijay Gachchdar.

On August 14, 2011, Khanal resigned from his post after failing to make any progresses in the stagnant peace process and furthering the drafting of the new constitution which has been extended over the time period time and again. The dateline for the constitution drafting ends on the midnight of August 31, 2011.

On Sunday, the Nepali parliament elected Baburam Bhattarai of UCPN-M in the prime ministerial elections following the directives from Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav.

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