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Nepal's President Calls for Majority Government


Nepal remains in political crisis with the continued failure to form a new government, following the resignation of the Himalayan country's Maoist prime minister.

Nepal's President Ram Baran Yadav sent an official letter to members of parliament asking them to choose a new prime minister by majority vote, after negotiations to form a coalition failed to reach agreement.

It is the first time President Yadav has urged the new government be formed under a majority banner, as opposed to one built with a full consensus from all 25 parties.

Nepal's government has been in crisis since Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal - known as Prachanda - resigned last week after his call to oust the head of the Nepali Army was revoked by the president.

Advisor to the president Rajendra Dahal says a move to install a new majority government is required under the Interim Constitution, since the parties refused to meet the president's Saturday midnight deadline to form a coalition by consensus.

Dahal says he is hopeful parliament will be able to select a new leader from the 601 member parliament, even if this breeds disagreement in the process.

"In consensus government normally it is understood that there is no opposition, but in majority government there is opposition," Dahal said. "

A party must earn 301 parliament votes to officially be dubbed the new government leader. Critics say this leaves the window open to push the Maoist party, which won 40 percent of the seats in last year's election, out of the picture - paving the way for any number of smaller parties to bid for the prime minister seat.

Maoist Spokesman Dina Nath Sharma says a sustainable government in Nepal will not be possible if a government is formed by smaller party players banding together.

"It will not be long lasting. For two, three months ... but they could not maintain the peace process," Sharma said. "Only the Maoists will be able, in this historical juncture, able to address the needs of the people."

No date has been set for the parliament vote.

Nepal has had 17 new governments in the past 19 years, since the country's pro-democracy movement started in 1990.


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