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Nepal: Maoists cite 'irregularities', want counting postponed

world Updated: Nov 21, 2013 13:28 IST
Utpal Parashar

If initial trends are any indication, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the largest party in 2008 election, seems set for a drubbing in the country's constituent assembly polls.

Counting of votes across Nepal shows that the party is trailing at a distant third place behind rivals Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist).

Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal or Prachanda lost from the Kathmandu-10 constituency. He came third after Nepali Congress' Rajan KC and Surendra Manandhar of CPN-UML.

Prachanda, however, may have a chance of entering the next constituent assembly as he is leading in Siraha-5 - the second constituency from where he is contesting.

Meanwhile, UCPN-M's central committee has demanded postponement in counting after reports of the party's election reverses started pouring in from all over Nepal.

"There have been irregularities during polling in various places. If counting continues in this manner, we will have no option but to stay away from constituent assembly," said Prachanda.

Maoist observers came out of counting centres and did not take part in the process after the party’s decision.

The election commission has, however, refused to stop the counting process.

"Election was conducted in a free and fair manner. It is our request to all to exercise restraint till final results are out," said chief election commissioner Neel Kanth Uprety.

Counting began on Tuesday and it could take another four to five days for results of all the 240 seats under the first-past-the-post system to be declared.

Results of the 335 seats, under proportional representation system, will be declared by December 6. Nepal’s constituent assembly has 601 members of which 26 are nominated.

Nepali Congress seems set to head the next government.

It was leading in over 70 of the 240 seats under the first-past-the-post system. CPN-UML was second with leads in around 50 seats and UCPN (M) leading in 16 constituencies.

"The Maoist stance shows the party’s undemocratic character. There is no other option than to accept peoples' verdict with humility," said NC vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel.