07/22/2010, 00.00
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Tensions among parties leave Nepal without a government

by Kalpit Parajuli
Parliament has failed so far to pick a new prime minister, following Kumar Nepal’s resignation. As a protest against the larger parties, small parties have spoilt their vote. Another vote is set for tomorrow but it is likely to fail again.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – A month after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal quit, Nepal’s political crisis is still not solved. Parliament has failed in fact to vote in a new government because of divisions among the parties. None of the candidates, including former Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka Prachanda), has won the confidence of the house to be able to form a new coalition government. Another vote is expected tomorrow, but it appears destined to fail.

The current crisis lies in the opposition between a seven-party alliance that pre-existed the abolition of the monarchy, and the Maoist party that won the 2008 elections to the constituent assembly.

One of the bones of contention between the two factions is the fate of Maoist fighters, which the Maoist party wants integrated into the national army. Maoist Prime Minister Kamal Dahal resigned in May 2009 when President Ram Baran Yadav expressed his opposition to the measure.

Forced into the opposition, Maoists began to destabilise the country through strikes and demonstrations. Last 30 June, they forced the caretaker prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, to quit.

At present, three parties have a candidate for the post, the Nepali Congress (NC), the United Marxist-Leninist (UML) and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M).

None of them has enough votes to form a majority government on its own; they must gain the support of smaller parties. However, the leaders of the latter are unwilling to vote for any of the three candidates on the ballot.

In the meantime, the country is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and the winds of civil war appear to be blowing again.

Without a majority, the government has been unable to adopt a new budget and put to use financial and other aid provided by the United Nations, something that is key for local hospitals and schools.

Hanging over all this is the fate of 19,000 Maoist fighters, who are confined to training camps.

Sadly, the longer the impasse continues, the greater the dangers of a new civil war.

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See also
PM election fails as Maoists call for a government of national “consensus”
Maoist Premier fires general. The President defends him
Government blackmailed by the Maoists, Prime Minister mulls resignation
After a seven-month standoff, Nepal has a new prime minister
Maoists back in power after two years


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