Nepal moves towards federal democracy, Leftists comfortably win polls

Nepal moves towards federal democracy, Leftists comfortably win polls
Click for full image
Photo: AFP

Kathmandu: The Left alliance has won at least 26 of the 30 parliamentary seats and is leading comfortably against the opposition NC which has won three seats in the historic parliamentary and provincial assembly polls in Nepal, officials said Saturday.

The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) has won 18 seats while its alliance partner, the CPN Maoist-Centre eight. The opposition Nepali Congress (NC) has won three seats while independent one.

The CPN-UML is leading on 44 seats, the CPN-Maoist Centre on 18 and the NC on 12 seats, they said.

A total of 1,663 candidates contested polls for parliamentary seats while 2,819 were in the fray for the provincial assembly seats in the historic elections that many hope will bring the much-needed political stability to the Himalayan nation.

The polls will elect 128 members of parliament and 256 members of provincial assemblies.

The house of representatives consists of 275 members, of which 165 would be elected directly under the first-past-the- post system while the remaining 110 will come through the proportional representation system.

Of the 10 parliamentary seats in Kathmandu district, the CPN-UML has won three while the NC two.

Senior NC leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh has won from Kathmandu-1 seat by a thin margin against his rival Ravindra Mishra, a senior journalist who was contesting from a new party Sajha Viveksheel.

Popular NC youth leader Gagan Thapa won from Kathmandu-4 by defeating Rajan Bhattarai of the CPN-UML.

Left alliance candidates Krishna Kumar Rai, Jeevan Ram Bhandari and Krishna Gopal Shrestha have won from Kathmandu-3, Kathmandu-8 and Kathmandu-9 seats respectively by defeating their NC opponents.

In the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections, the Nepali Congress had won eight out of ten seats from Kathmandu.

The heavy weights who lost include NC leader Shekhar Koirala, Communication minister and NC candidate Mohan Basnet and Rastriya Prajatantrik Party leader Pashupati Shumsher Rana.

Koirala lost to Lal Babu Pandit of the CPN-UML from Morang 6 while Basnet lost to Agni Sapkota of the CPN-Maoist Centre from Sindhupalchowk-1 seat.

Rana lost to Sher Bahadur Tamang of the CPN-UML on Sindhupalcowk-2 seat.

In the provincial assemblies, the CPN-UML has won 12 seats while the CPN-Maoist Centre and the NC won 8 and 3 seats respectively, they said.

Voting in the two-phased parliamentary and provincial assembly elections were held on November 26 and December 7.

In the first phase, polling were held in 32 districts, mostly situated in the hilly and mountainous region, in which 65 per cent of voters had exercised their franchise. In the second phase, 67 per cent voter turnout was registered.

The elections are being seen as the final step in Nepal’s transition to a federal democracy following a decade-long civil war till 2006 that claimed more than 16,000 lives.

While many hope Nepal’s first state elections will hasten regional development, others fear they will spark a fresh wave of violence.

In 2015, when Nepal adopted a new Constitution that split it into seven states, dozens of people were killed in ethnic clashes over territory and rights.

Following the adoption of the new Constitution, the ethnic Madhesi group, mostly of Indian-origin, protested for months, saying they were not getting enough territory in one of the provinces and were also facing discrimination.

The polls are seen as a major step towards implementing the new Constitution.

PTI