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Maoists ahead in early Nepal counting

Nepal’s Maoists establish leads in 32 of the 62 constituencies for which trends were available late on Friday evening, reports Anirban Roy.

world Updated: Apr 11, 2008 21:59 IST
Anirban Roy

In a boost to their electoral prospects, Nepal’s Maoists have established leads in 32 of the 62 constituencies for which trends were available late on Friday evening. The former insurgents look to be doing well in Thursday’s Constituent Assembly elections, whose winners will frame a new statute for Nepal.

According to available trends, the CPN (UML) was leading in 14 constituencies and the Nepali Congress in 12. Other parties were ahead in four seats. The first result came from Kathmandu 1 constituency, where EVMs were used, with Prakash Man Singh of the Nepali Congress defeating Education Minister Pradip Nepal of the CPN (UML).

The process of counting for 239 seats under the first-past-the-post system started late on Friday even as re-polling was announced in 33 polling stations across the country. Counting in the mountainous constituencies is likely to start from Saturday morning as officials took several hours to reach counting centres with ballot boxes.

Unidentified militants detonated a bomb near a counting centre in Birgunj. Most results are likely to come by Saturday afternoon, election commission officials said.

Also, in Kathmandu, Maoist chief Prachanda was leading in constituency 10, while the Nepali Congress is leading in constituencies 3, 4, 5 and 9. The Maoist candidates are ahead in four constituencies, and Yogesh Bhattarai of CPN (UML) is leading in constituency No. 6.

Veteran politician, Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is the general secretary of CPN (UML) is trailing in Kathmandu 2. The CPN (UML) appeared to have suffered a setback in Kathmandu, which has been its bastion.

The Madheshi Peoples Rights Forum (MPRF) is doing well in Banke district; leading in two out of the four seats. However, Maoists are leading in Banke constituencies 1 and 4. In Bardiya district, the Maoists are leading in all the four constituencies, while they have established leads in three districts of Dang district.

Maoist spokesman and Information minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara was also leading. In Lalitpur district, social welfare minister Pampa Bhushal is leading in constituency 1, while Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula is trailing in Jhapa-6 constituency. In Bhaktapur district, the Nepal Workers’ and Peasants Party is leading in both the constituencies.

The election is the final step of a peace process that ended the Maoists’ decade-long armed struggle, leading to polls for a 601-seat assembly that will most likely abolish King Gyanendra’s rule in the world’s only Hindu monarchy.