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Nepal's Parliament Fails to Elect PM

A Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) supporter jumps over a fire with a burining effigy of prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal during the fourth day of indefinite strike in Kathmandu, 05 May 2010

Nepal's parliament has failed to elect a new prime minister, as the Himalayan nation grapples with a growing political crisis.

None of the three candidates contesting Wednesday's vote in parliament won a simple majority, forcing the speaker to call new elections on Friday.

Maoist party leader and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal will run against Ram Chandra Poudel of the Nepali Congress party in the new vote, after a third contender dropped out.

Nepal has been in political limbo since former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned last month following pressure from Maoists who want to return to power. Since then, the main political parties have failed to agree on who will lead a coalition government.

Mr. Nepal said he stepped down to facilitate the peace process that ended a decade-long Maoist insurgency in 2006, and allowed the former rebels to join the government. They now have the most seats in parliament.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters