South Asia

Nepal to vote again to elect new PM

Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal or Prachanda after filing his nomination paper on 2 February 2011
Image caption Maoist leader Prachanda is among the candidates

Lawmakers in Nepal are set to vote for the 17th time to elect a new PM.

Four candidates from Nepal's major parties are standing in the vote, which will take place in the country's 601-seat parliament.

Nepal has been without a functioning government since June after politicians consistently failed to choose a new prime minister.

But the election process has now changed and it is hoped that a winner will emerge in the next few days.

The four candidates are from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Nepali Congress party, the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) and the Madhesi People's Rights Forum.

Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, is among the candidates fighting for the prime minister's job.

The winning candidate needs to secure a clear majority, so three rounds of voting have been scheduled over the next few days to ensure this happens.

This is one of the changes to the election process which has been agreed by parliamentarians after 16 previous rounds to elect a leader failed to produce a result.

The Maoists have the most seats in parliament but as no single party holds an absolute majority, whoever wins this election will need to form a governing alliance.

However, deep distrust both within and between the parties means that it is still unclear who will ally with whom and it is unlikely there will be a result after the first round.

Meanwhile, Nepal's political leaders are facing growing criticism from ordinary Nepali people for putting their personal agendas ahead of forming a consensus government that can complete the country's peace process and write a new democratic constitution.

Nepal has had no prime minister since Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June. Mr Nepal has been running a caretaker government ever since.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites