Nepal's seven month-long prime ministerial election finally ended on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 when the lone PM candidate of the Nepali Congress (NC), Ram Chandra Paudel, announced the withdrawal of his candidacy shortly before the sixteenth round of voting. Paudel was running against Puspa Kamal Dahal ("Prachand"), from the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), after the previous Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, resigned from the post in June 2010. After the seventh round of voting, Prachada withdrew his candidacy saying it was meaningless to continue to compete in an election which did not provide any result.

Please do not think that Nepalese people has got a new prime minister - Ram Chandra Paudel only withdrew his candidacy when the UCPN-M and the Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML), the largest and the third largest parties in the Constituent Assembly (CA) respectively, had decided to vote against his candidacy. The decision of the NC to withdraw its candidate has enhanced the process of consensus and the unity among the political parties. It further opens the ground for a national consensus government.

However, all three of the largest parties are claiming the post of the PM. A rotation system has been also proposed by some political leaders. In fact, some of the leaders have been discussing the modality of the rotational system. People suspect that there would be conflict within the rotational system regarding  who will be first to take the role and who will ensure the handover of the post after the first term has ended. Currently, all the political parties are in crises and it is hard to see how anyone can act as a guarantor for the rotational system considering the lack of trust between the parties.

On the other side, the term of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is ended on 15 January 2011 and is preparing for its departure. This raises a major question - who will do monitoring of the arms and armies of the combatants of UCPN-M after UNMINs departure. The government of Nepal has sent four letters asking to hand over the monitoring logistics and equipment to the government within last two weeks. Indeed, the UNMIN is demanding consensus request for possible transfer of its monitoring logistics and equipment, the consensus between the government of Nepal and the UCPN-M. Indeed, the UCPN-M has been demanding term extension and the continuation of monitoring of the Nepal Army. Besides, other major political parties, mainly the NC and the CPN-UML, are not in any mood to extend the term and allow the continued monitoring of the Nepal Army. There is a speculation that violence will resume after departure of the UNMIN and the Nepalese people are very much worried about the possible unrest in the country.

Though, there is only four and half months left to declare the new constitution, the major political parties are still fighting for the post of the prime minister. The one year extension of the CA will end on 14 May 2011. Overall peace and constitution writing process is been halted for more than one year. The Nepalese people have not even a thin ray of hope to get the new constitution and the logical end of the peace process. The Nepalese people do not have options left besides just staying in silence but no one knows when this silence will burst.

Ambika Pokhrel, Nepal Local Correspondent, 13 January 2011