Nepal elections: Communist alliance takes early lead, shocks Nepali Congress

Nepal conducted the final round of elections to the federal and seven provincial assemblies on Thursday and the counting of votes is underway across the country.

world Updated: Dec 08, 2017 22:03 IST
Anil Giri
Anil Giri
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Nepal elections,Nepal leftist alliance,Nepal vote counting
Nepalese Election Commission officials rearrange ballot papers in Kathmandu on December 8, 2017. Nepal has concluded historic parliamentary elections aimed at drawing a line under years of conflict and political turmoil in the Himalayan country. (AFP)

An alliance of communist parties has taken a two-thirds lead in the initial counting of votes in Nepal’s first election to provincial and federal assemblies, a serious setback to the ruling Nepali Congress that has long had close ties with India.

Nepal conducted the final round of elections to the federal and seven provincial assemblies on Thursday and the counting of votes is underway across the country.

The early results and trends came as a shock to the Nepali Congress and many of its heavyweight candidates feared losing in the polls. The leftist alliance, which was reportedly cobbled together with China’s backing in October, is likely to dominate power equations in future.

In Province Number 2 that is located close to the border with India, Madhesi parties took the lead in initial counts.

If the alliance of the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre bags a majority of the seats in the assemblies, Nepal will have communists in key posts such as the president, prime minister and speaker of Parliament.

These were the first elections to the federal and provincial assemblies after the promulgation of a new Constitution in 2015, marking the culmination of a decade-long democratic transition after the abolition of monarchy.

Reports from across the country suggested the leftist alliance was dominating in results and trends. Out of results declared till Friday evening, the CPN-UML had won five seats in the federal assembly and seven in the provincial assemblies. The CPN-Maoist Centre won one seat in the federal assembly and four seats in provincial assemblies.

The Communist parties were leading in 67 seats in the federal assembly and 75 seats in the provincial assemblies. The Nepali Congress was ahead in only 11 seats in the federal assembly and 10 in the provincial assemblies.

The Nepali Congress had won just three seats in the provincial assemblies.

The sweeping lead of the leftist alliance poses a serious challenge to the political future of the Nepali Congress.

The complete election results are likely to be out after a week as polling was held for a mixed electoral system. Besides the first-past-the-post system, 110 members of parliament will be elected under a proportional representation system to represent various communities.

A total of 220 representatives will also be elected to the provincial assemblies under the proportional representation system.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 19:28 IST