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Maoists fall well short of majority

Nepal’s Maoists bag 97 of the 335 seats available through the proportional representation route and now need the support of other parties to form Govt. Anirban Roy reports.

world Updated: Apr 24, 2008 22:44 IST
Anirban Roy

Nepal’s Maoists are short of a simple majority in the 601-member Constituent Assembly with the party taking 97 of the 335 seats available through the proportional representation route. The party has already won 120 out of the 240 seats in the first-past-the-post system.

With a total of 197 seats, the Maoists will need the support of the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML) to form a viable government. The former rebels got 29.27 percent of vote share under the proportional system.

In second place was the Nepali Congress, with a total of 107 seats while the CPN (UML) was third with a few seats less than the Nepali Congress. Twenty-six members will be nominated to the Constituent Assembly by the new government. Even as he looked for partners, Maoist leader Prachanda reiterated his claim to lead the new government on Thursday. Prachanda also said that his government would be open to receiving assistance from international donor agencies to help the impoverished nation develop itself.

The Maoist chief and other senior members of the insurgent-turned political party on Thursday held a detailed discussion with the donor agencies at the UN headquarters on their economic road map to prosperity.

“We have been assured that a new process of international assistance will begin soon,” Prachanda told presspersons. The Maoist leaders apprised the representatives of the donor agencies, including the UN, about their economic road map.

Prachanda also claimed that they promised the donor agencies that peace and stability would be the top-most priority of the new government. Interestingly, US Ambassador to Nepal, Nancy Powell, was among those who attended the meeting.

The Maoists remained a banned terrorist organization under American law and this meeting, although in a group, is the first known contact between the Maoists and the US after the elections.

“We met in a group. She did not ask any questions. She did not say anything negative or anything positive. She only listened to others speak,” Prachanda told reporters. “I hope after this meeting America will reconsider their policy.”

The issue of integrating the Maoist Peoples’ Liberation Army with the Nepal Army figured in the discussions, he added.