Kathmandu: As the results of Nepal`s second Constituent Assembly elections were announced Thursday evening, the country`s traditional political forces -- the Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (UML) -- were dominating the tally with the Maoists facing a setback and heading for a third place.
Securing 14 seats each out of the first-past-the-posts category, the centre-right NC and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) were neck and neck, with the former clearly having an edge in 74 seats with the latter leading in 54 seats, Nepal`s Election Commission said.
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), which was in a majority in the first Constituent Assembly formed in 2008, won just one seat and was leading in a dozen others. But the biggest setback for the party came with the defeat of its chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, who lost to NC candidate Rajendra KC, a little known local activist, by a huge margin of around 8,000 votes in Kathmandu constituency No.10.
Prachanda was also struggling in another constituency -- Siraha-5, a district bordering India.
Besides Prachanda, at least half a dozen senior Maoist leaders were trailing behind NC and CPN (UML) candidates or struggling for the third position.
Soon after Prachanda`s defeat was announced, the UCPN-M alleged several cases of irregularities and rigging in the Nov 19 polls and threatened to boycott the second Constituent Assembly.
However, two prominent international organisations -- Carter Centre and European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) -- who kept an eye on the polls said the elections were held in a fair manner with high public participation. The announcement came a day after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Nepal for the peaceful and successful conduct of the polls.
In the national capital Kathmandu, considered a communist bastion, NC won the majority of the 10 seats. Former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress won with a huge margin of 11,000 votes against his Maoist rival. Deuba is leading in another constituency too.
Both the NC and CPN (UML) celebrated their victory Thursday evening by organising rallies in Kathmandu. Nepali Congress termed as "demolition of the communist bastion" its victory in the national capital.
Other regional and fringe parties were leading in 17 seats but none of them had managed to win a seat.
Thursday`s results indicate that the traditional political forces are likely to dominate the composition of the new Constituent Assembly. 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 CPN (UML) won 30 seats.
But this time, the poll results indicate that the traditional forces are likely to dominate the composition of the new Constituent Assembly. According to the Election Commission, it will take at least a week to deliver the final results.
The commission said the people used their votes to seal 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 life after the formation of the new Constituent Assembly. For the first-past-the-post election, 240 seats were allocated to 75 districts of Nepal, while the remaining are to be filled on the basis of proportional representation.