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Nepal Polls: Nepali Congress, UML lead; Maoists lag far behind
Thursday November 21, 2013 1:04 PM, IANS

Initial results of Nepal's second Constituent Assembly elections indicate that the country's traditional political forces like the Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) are likely to dominate the final tally.

By Thursday morning, the Nepali Congress - a right-of-centre political force - gained victory in two constituencies, while the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) - a moderate Left force - has won two seats under the first-past-the-post election for 240 seats.

According to the latest trends provided by the Election Commission of Nepal, the Nepali Congress (NC) is leading in 75 seats; the CPN (UML) is leading in 48 seats, and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in 19 seats. Other regional and fringe parties are leading in 20 seats.

Many political analysts found the election results shocking as the once-powerful Maoist party suffered a huge defeat.

Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, a former prime minister, was defeated by a little known Nepali Congress candidate Rajan KC by a huge margin of around 8,000 votes.

Many of the UCPN (Maoist) cadre left the vote counting booths alleging irregularities and rigging by the NC and the CPN-UML.

But Nepal Chief Election Commissioner Nil Kantha Uprety early Thursday morning called on the Maoist leadership to respect the spirit of free and fair election and asked the party not to boycott the counting process.

India, China, the US and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several countries have congratulated the Nepali people for extending overwhelming support to the elections and wished for early delivery of the new constitution.

"The new Constituent Assembly will have the historic responsibility to complete a new constitution, building upon the impressive gains in the peace process so far, and thereby promoting national dialogue and genuine reconciliation," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his statement.

In 2008, the Maoists had emerged as the single largest party securing 120 seats out of the 240 seats set aside for first-past-the-post polls. The Nepali Congress had secured 37 while the UML won 30 seats.

But this time, the people's verdict is likely to reverse and traditional forces are likely to dominate the composition of the new Constituent Assembly.

Top leaders from the major political parties like Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala, CPN (UML) chairman and former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal, former prime minister and senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, former prime minister and senior leader of CPN(UML) Madhav Kumar Nepal, former prime minister and senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai are leading in their respective constituencies.

It will take at least a week to deliver the final results, the poll panel has said.

According to the Election Commission, people have used their franchises sealing the fate of around 17,000 candidates (6,126 under the first-past-the-post) and (10,709 under the proportional representative systems) belonging to 122 political parties in the fray in 575 constituencies. The Constituent Assembly has a total of 601 seats.

Members to the remaining 26 seats will be nominated by the cabinet representing various walks of lives after formation of the new Constituent Assembly. For the first-past-the-post election 240 seats are allocated for 75 districts of Nepal, while the remaining are to be filled on the basis of proportional representation.

The last Constituent Assembly was also termed the most inclusive elected house in South Asia.

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