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Nepal House to hold 17th run-off poll for new PM

Kathmandu: Nepal`s Parliament will hold the crucial 17th round of election for a new Prime Minister on January 12, with Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudyal as the sole candidate.

The Business Advisory Committee of the Parliament decided to hold the election on January 12 at 2 p.m. as the winter session of the Parliament began on Sunday.

During a series of run-off poll in the last six months, Poudyal has failed to secure majority in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

This time, however, the Prime Ministerial election will be decisive. The Supreme Court has given directive to the Parliament Speaker to make the election meaningful.

After the court`s directive, the Speaker has ruled that no lawmaker who is present in Parliament can remain neutral during the crucial voting.

If majority of lawmakers or 300 of them voted against Poudyal during the 17th round of election, Nepali Congress will withdraw from the election on moral ground, said a senior party leader on condition of anonymity.

In such a circumstances, a fresh round of election will be held for a new leader.

The crucial run-off polls for the prime minister comes amid speculation that the Maoists may embark on a `people`s revolt` and capture power as the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) prepares for its exit on January 15.

Karin Landgren, the Chief of the United Nations Mission in Nepal, sparked fresh controversy after she spoke about fears of the Maoists going for another revolt and the President stepping in for a presidential rule.

Both Maoist chief Prachanda and President Ram Baran Yadav have, however, denied the speculations, saying that there was no such possibility.

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