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Nepalese Lawmakers Fail to Elect President


Nepalese officials say lawmakers have failed to elect the country's first president.

Officials say none of the three candidates vying for the ceremonial post, received a majority of at least 298 votes in the new 594-member constituent assembly Saturday.

Nepali Congress party candidate Ram Baran Yadav fell short of a majority, receiving 294 votes in the assembly. Maoist-backed candidate Ramraja Prasad Singh received the second highest number of votes. Lawmakers have scheduled a new election between the two leading candidates on Monday, July 21.

Both Yadav and Singh are ethnic Madheshis, from the troubled lowland area bordering India, where complaints of government discrimination have led to deadly clashes.

Lawmakers Saturday elected Madheshi People's Rights Forum leader Parmananda Jha as vice president of Nepal.

Saturday's vote further delays the formation of a new government in Nepal. The country has been in political limbo since May, when lawmakers voted to abolish the centuries-old monarchy and establish the country as a republic.

The former rebel Maoists won the most seats in the assembly in April's election, but do not have enough support to form a new government. Analysts say the election of an ethnic Madheshi as president could satisfy the marginalized group and result in its support for a new coalition.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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