CPN-UML, NC in dead heat in Nepal polls
The CPN-UML and Nepali Congress were locked in a neck-and-neck fight on Friday while the Maoists faced a rout in the election to choose an assembly that will draft Nepal`s new Constitution and end the political turmoil in the country.
Kathmandu: The CPN-UML and Nepali Congress were locked in a neck-and-neck fight on Friday while the Maoists faced a rout in the election to choose an assembly that will draft Nepal`s new Constitution and end the political turmoil in the country.
The CPN-UML bagged 67 seats out of the 155 seats declared so far while Nepali Congress had won in 63 constituencies. The Prachanda-led Unified CPN-Maoist has won 14 seats.
The Jhalanath Khanal-led CPN-UML and Nepali Congress headed by Sushil Koirala were locked in a fierce battle to emerge as the leading party in the polls to elect a 601-member Constituent Assembly.
Other fringe parties including the Madhesi parties have secured 11 seats.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum (Democratic) have bagged three seats each.
Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum (Nepal) has won one seat and an independent candidate has also won in the election held on November 19.
The Madhesi parties which had joined the Maoists for power sharing have suffered significant losses in the election.
The counting of votes was still in progress for the remaining number of seats.
Top leaders who have been declared winners so far included -- CPN-UML Chairman Khanal, CPN-UML leader and former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal who has been elected from two constituencies and Unified CPN-Maoist Vice-chairman and former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.
Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, senior leaders Sher Bahadur Deuba and Krishna Sitaula were also declared winners in their respective constituencies, according to the Election Commission.
Maoist supremo Prachanda has suffered a double blow as he and his daughter were handed down humiliating defeats in the polls.
Even though Prachanda has lost from Kathmandu Constituency 10 but he is also a candidate from Siraha Constituency 5, where he was leading the vote count.
Prachanda`s daughter Renu Dahal lost to Nepali Congress general secretary Prakash Man Singh by a big margin.
Senior Madhesi leaders Vijaya Gachhadar and Upendra Yadav, president of MPRF (Nepal), have also been defeated in the polls.
In Kathmandu`s 10 constituencies, Nepali Congress won seven and CPN-UML won three seats. Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have organised victory rallies at different places in the capital.
The counting will lead to the formation of a Constituent Assembly, including 240 elected under a direct voting system. Proportionate voting will elect members to 335 seats and the remaining 26 members will be nominated by the government.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has conducted re-polling in Devpal polling centre of mountainous Jumla district, where election was postponed due to unfavourable conditions.
Similarly, election will be held in one of the polling centres in Saptari district in southern Nepal tomorrow.
Nepal`s Maoists are threatening to boycott the newly-elected Constituent Assembly, alleging conspiracy.
The vote was only the second one since a civil war launched by Maoist rebels ended in 2006. Nepal was then transformed into a secular republic.
The country plunged into a constitutional crisis after the previous Constituent Assembly was dissolved without promulgating the Constitution last year, and fresh elections scheduled for November 2012 were not held.
With the formation of an election government led by Khil Raj Regmi in March, parties agreed after prolonged talks to conduct the polls in June or by December.
Political infighting, including a split in the ruling Maoist party last year, confounded efforts to implement a peace plan meant to rebuild Nepal after the 10-year civil war.