Nepali Congress maintained its lead over Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) to emerge winner of Nepal's constituent assembly polls after end of vote counting on Thursday.
But the outcome is unlikely to end political uncertainty and instability in the Himalayan nation as no party managed to get majority in the 601-member constituent assembly, which also acts as parliament.
Nepali Congress, which had won 105 of the 240 seats under the first-past-the-post system, secured 25.73% of the votes polled under the proportional representation system.
The party will now secure nearly one-fourth of the 335 seats under PR system taking its total number of seats closer to 200.
CPN-UML, which had won 91 FPTP seats followed closely with 23.78% of the total votes under PR system.
Previous winner Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which had a total of 220 seats in the earlier constituent assembly, came a distant third with 26 seats under FPTP and 15.22% votes under PR system.
With no party securing over 300 seats Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) could join hands to form a coalition government. But forging an agreement between the two parties could take few more weeks.
Maoists, who had earlier alleged massive rigging and sought review of the entire poll process, are yet to make their stand clear.
The party is now insisting on consensus among all parties to form the next government and draft the next constitution.
Nepal's interim constitution stipulates that a constitution can be promulgated with support of two-third majority and Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) don't need Maoists to complete the process.
In another development, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, which wants restoration of constitutional monarchy and Nepal to be declared a Hindu state, came fourth, with nearly 3% of votes under PR system.
The party had failed to win even a single seat under the FPTP system, but could end up securing at least 22 seats under the PR system---becoming the fourth largest block in the new constituent assembly.