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Nepal PM candidate Oli wins seat as Left alliance cruises to majority

The democratic alliance led by ruling Nepali Congress party managed only 15 seats and two separate Madhes-based factions were struggling below 10 seats.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2017 21:49 IST
Anil Giri
Anil Giri
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Nepal elections,Left alliance,Nepal communists
KP Oli will be forced to be pragmatic in maintaining a geopolitical balance with India and China, according to experts.(Reuters File)

The Left alliance in Nepal has won clear majority in federal parliament elections, winning 83 out of 165 seats, and will form the new government. They will also rule in all seven provinces, a first of its kind in Nepal’s history.

The democratic alliance led by ruling Nepali Congress party managed only 15 seats and two separate Madhes-based factions were struggling below 10 seats as of Sunday evening.

The Left alliance is leading in several constituencies while Nepali Congress is struggling to make it beyond 15 seats.

Former prime minister KP Oli looked set for a return to power after winning his seat, and his Communist UML party and Maoist allies on course to win a comfortable majority.

Counting is still under way following the elections that finished on Thursday, capping a near-decade long transition to democracy from monarchy and a civil war in which more than 17,000 people died.

Oli, 65, had vowed to form a government that lasts its full five-year term, something no prime minister has achieved since parliamentary democracy was established in 1990.

His campaign had called for the extension of the Chinese railway network into Nepal and implement of hydroelectric, airport and other infrastructure projects to create jobs.

“We can expect Oli to lead a stable government with the Maoists as strong allies,” said Bipin Adhikari, a constitutional expert. “Once there is political stability he can implement a development agenda and attract foreign investment.”

Instability has spooked investors, curbed growth, spurred corruption and slowed reconstruction after a 2015 earthquake that killed 9,000 people.

Nepal is a natural buffer between China and India, with the ruling Nepali Congress party considered pro-India and the left alliance seen closer to China.

“If Oli leads the new government, he will be forced to be pragmatic in maintaining a geo-political balance with both,” said Kunda Dixit, editor of the weekly Nepali Times.

Final election results are expected to take about a week, election officials said.

Home to Mount Everest, Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries.

Some experts have described Nepal elections as a contest between India and China as many suggest the Left alliance is backed by Beijing.

Several NC leaders including its second senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel have lost the elections.

Some top Madhes-based leaders have also secured their positions in federal parliament but could not show satisfactory results.

The RJP, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, has won only three seats so far. (With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 20:56 IST