Parliament on Wednesday announced a re-election for the post of prime minister on Friday as both candidates, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NC vice president Ram Chandra Poudel, failed to obtain the required majority during Wednesday's delayed election.
Maoist candidate Dahal obtained 242 votes from the 592 members present in the house while NC candidate Ram Chandra Poudel received 124 votes in his favour. The required number for a simple majority is 301. The Madhesi alliance and other fringe parties abstained from voting for a majority government.
The UML had fielded party chairman Jhalanath Khanal on condition that he garnered a two thirds majority, or 401 seats, before the election. Despite the UCPN (Maoist) promise to support him with 237 seats as part of that two thirds majority, Khanal fell short of the magic number and withdrew his nomination.
Since the UML has withdrawn from the race for the premiership, the Maoists and the NC will contest the second round of voting on Friday.
The undecided Madhesi alliance, with 82 seats, continues to hold meetings to decide how to proceed. The UML has been saying it will participate in the second round only if there is a national unity government at stake. The Maoists will need the support of either the Madhesi alliance or the UML to win, while the NC will need the support of both the Madhesi alliance and the UML to win.
Meanwhile, the constitution …
The Constituent Assembly amended its calendar of events for the eleventh time on Sunday to complete its tasks within the deadline of 28 May 2011.
As per the calendar, all reports of the thematic committees will be transferred to the Constitutional Committee (CC) for preparation of an integrated draft constitution by mid-October. The CC will then prepare an integrated draft of the constitution within a month, which will be taken to the public for consultations. The newly amended calendar aims to complete all work related to constitution drafting by mid-April 2011.
The thematic committees have already completed their tasks, but political parties still have to resolve differences on fundamental issues and the basic principles of the constitution.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has backtracked on its decision to provide a bonus to its employees after criticism from all quarters on Thursday. The NOC board of directors scrapped the decision to provide a bonus until gross loses are recovered.
NOC had decided to distribute Rs 198.8 million as bonus to its staff out of its profits from the fiscal year 2008/09. The decision to distribute a bonus had come only a few days after NOC increased prices of petroleum products, citing mounting losses. The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has begun a probe on NOC, which has been declaring losses for almost a decade and is indebted to the government.