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Nepal: Presidential Election Enters Second Round
Madhesi People's Rights Forum candidate becomes first vice president
Kishor Panthi (kishor)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-20 02:49 (KST)   
None of the three candidates vying to be the first president of the federal democratic republic of Nepal could garner a clear majority of at least 298 votes (out of 594) to win the election on Saturday, thus necessitating a second round of polling.

Nepali Congress (NC) presidential candidate Ram Baran Yadav secured 294 votes -- just four votes short a majority. Maoist-backed candidate Ram Raja Prasad Singh received 283 votes. The CPN-UML's Ram Prit Paswan received no votes.

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Of the candidates for vice president, Madhesi People's Rights Forum candidate Paramananda Jha won the election. Jha secured 305 votes, defeating Maoist candidate Shanta Shrestha, the NC's Maan Bahadur Bishwakarma and the UML's Asta Laxmi Shakya.

Of the 594 Constituent Assembly members, 16 did not vote.

As per the election program, a re-election will be conducted between the two presidential candidates who secured the highest number of votes -- Yadav and Singh. The second round of polling will be conducted on Sunday.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, National People's Front Nepal and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party all boycotted the election.

The cabinet had planned to take the president around the city in a royal coach.

Meanwhile, Nepal's last monarch, Gyanendra Shah, is set to take a short vacation in Pokhara, Kaski district, about 200 kilometers northwest of the capital, Kathmandu.

Gyanendra Shah is reportedly living alone in the Nagarjun Palace after his wife Komal moved temporarily to the Nirmal Niwas, Maharajgunj Kathmandu, due to her illness. A formal letter will be sent to the ministry of home affairs early next week to arrange the needed security for the ex-King while he is in Pokhara.

The former Crown Princess of Nepal, Himani Shah, left for Singapore with her three children on Thursday. The former Crown Prince of Nepal, Paras Shah, left for Singapore two weeks ago.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Kishor Panthi

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