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Nepal polls: Nepali Cong registers first victory

Nepali Congress vice president Prakash Man Singh becomes the first candidate to be elected to Nepal's Constituent Assembly.
PTI | By Shirish B Pradhan, Kathmandu
UPDATED ON APR 11, 2008 02:00 PM IST

Nepali Congress vice president Prakash Man Singh on Friday became the first candidate to be elected to Nepal's Constituent Assembly as the results for the landmark vote started trickling in.

Singh, son of 1990 pro-democracy movement hero Ganesh Man Singh, has won the election under direct voting system from the prestigious constituency Kathmandu 1 securing 11,515 votes against his nearest rival from Communist Party of Nepal (UML) Pradip Nepal who bagged over 6000 votes.

Thousands of supporters of Prime Minister G P Koirala-led Nepali Congress poured onto the streets to celebrate the victory after the first result was announced from City Hall here this morning for the vote to elect an Assembly that will rewrite the Constitution and is expected to end the 240-year-old Hindu monarchy.

India had provided the Electronic Voting Machines which were used for the first time in the constituency on trial basis. The counting in other constituencies in Kathmandu and Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Banke districts has already begun. However, it will take at least 10 days to get the results from the entire country.

Among other prominent contestants are Maoist supremo Prachanda from Kathmandu10 constituency and another seat in Rolpa district and Koirala's daughter Sujata.

Despite pre-poll violence, more than 60 per cent voters turned out for the election held for 575 seats including 240 under direct voting and 335 under proportionate voting system.

The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has called on the political parties and leaders to accept the people's decision in the Constituent Assembly election, which it said was conducted, by and large, in a peaceful and orderly manner.

"Political parties and their leaders now need to ensure that they accept the people's decision through this election, or where they have challenges in relation to the process to pursue these through the proper legal channels," Special Representative of UN Secretary General and UNMIN chief Ian Martin said in a statement.

Today's vote was a key step towards culmination of the peace process that started with the signing of a November 2006 deal following which the Maoists ended their decade-long armed struggle.

Matin said it has been Nepal's most observed election and congratulated the people of Nepal," who have demonstrated their commitment to democracy by turning out in large numbers to vote in historic Constituent Assembly election" and also the Election Commission on its conduct of the poll.

"Election day was conducted by and large in a peaceful and orderly manner, though I regret the loss of at least three lives and offer my condolences to the families."

Polling was cancelled polls in 33 out of the more than 20,000 polling centers, he said.

"UNMIN's electoral staff will remain in the regions and districts until the count is complete, and the monitoring of arms and armies will continue. OHCHR-Nepal human rights officers will continue their monitoring work from their five regional offices," the statement said.

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