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11 Dec 2017

Parliamentary elections: Nepal's Left alliance wins 81 seats, heading towards majority

PTI | Dec 10, 2017, KATHMANDU: Nepal's Left alliance was on Sunday heading towards a comfortable majority in the parliamentary elections, winning 81 seats so far in the historic polls that many hope will bring the political stability to the country.
The CPN-UML led by former prime minister K P Oli and the CPN-Maoist led by former premier Prachanda have forged an electoral alliance for both the provincial and parliamentary elections.
As the alliance was headed for a clear majority in the 275-member Parliament, Oli is being projected to succeed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
Oli won from the Jhapa-5 constituency by more than 28,000 votes as he defeated Nepali Congress candidate Khagendra Adhikari.
He polled 57,139 votes, the highest number of votes so far secured by any candidate in the election.
According to results released by the Election Commission, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN- UML) has won 59 seats while its alliance partner CPN Maoist- Centre bagged 22 seats out of the total 165 seats under the first-past-the-post election system.
The ruling Nepali Congress (NC), which was the largest party in the last election, managed to win only 12 seats, according to tallies.
Two Madhesi parties, Federal Socialist Party Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party, have so far secured three Parliamentary seats each.
The Rastriya Prajatantra Party, the Naya Shakti Party led by former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai and an independent candidate have secured one seat each.
The counting of votes in the proportionate voting system was under progress.
The NC is expected to perform better in the proportionate voting, which was evident from the initial counting trends.
Although the two major communist parties are set to form the government, it is unlikely that they would secure two third majority in the election.
A Maoist leader, on the condition of anonymity, said that though the Left alliance is tilted towards the northern neighbour (China), the new government needs to strike a balance between the country's two giant neighbours (India and China) while pursuing its foreign policy.
The two parties are also considering to merge to form the largest communist party in Nepal.
If they merge, the post of party president and the country's president will be shared between Maoist chief Prachanda and top UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, according to party insiders.
UML leader Nepal has won the parliamentary election from Kathmandu-2 while Prachanda is set to win from Chitawan-3 constituency.
There was a tacit understanding among three key leaders of the alliance to share the three top posts, reliable sources have claimed.
The house of representatives consists of 275 members, of which 165 would be elected directly under the first-past-the- post system while the remaining 110 will come through the proportional representation system.
Voting in two-phased parliamentary and provincial assembly elections were held on November 26 and December 7.
In the first phase, polling was held in 32 districts, mostly situated in the hilly and mountainous region, in which 65 per cent of voters had exercised their franchise. In the second phase, 67 per cent voter turnout was registered.
A total of 1,663 candidates contested polls for parliamentary seats.

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