South Asia

Bad news for India, Nepal’s Communist alliance heads for landslide victory

Image Credit: Kathmadu Post

An alliance of Nepal’s main Communist party and former Maoist rebels is heading for a landslide victory and is expected to form the next government in Nepal, ousting the ruling Nepali Congress, after winning 106 out of 165 seats in the historic provincial and parliamentary polls.

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 landmark polls, which is seen as a turning point after two decades of conflict and political instability in Nepal.

The poll outcome is expected to mark the end of Nepals transition to federal democracy 11 years after the end of a brutal civil war in 2006.

Since then, the Himalayan nation has seen 10 prime ministers.

According to results released by the Election Commission today, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) has won highest number of 74 seats, followed by its alliance partner CPN-Maoist Centre, which won 32 seats, out of the total 165 seats under the first-past-the-post election system.

As the Left alliance headed for a clear majority in the 275-member Parliament, Oli was 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.

The CPN-Maoist Centre leader Prachanda was declared elected from Chitawan-3 constituency. He defeated Bikram Pandey of Rastriya Prajatantra Party by more than 10,000 votes. Prachanda got 41,574 votes.

The ruling Nepali Congress (NC), which was the largest party in the last elections and considered close to India, was trailing at third position with 20 seats.

It was followed by two Madhesi parties – Rastriya Janta Party Nepal, which won 10 seats and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, with nine seats. The combined strength of the two Madhesi parties has reached 19.

Following the adoption of the new Constitution in 2015, the ethnic Madhesi group, mostly of Indian-origin, protested for months, saying they were not getting enough territory in one of the provinces and were also facing discrimination.

According to the Election Commissions tallies, the Naya Shakti Nepal-led by former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party and the Rastriya Janamorcha have secured one seat each.

Three Independents have also been elected to the Parliament.

The Himalayan Times, in a report, said that the strong mandate to the Left alliance means that Nepal “could experience political stability” which it has been lacking for the 11 years of transition.

It also said that the NC should play the role of a constructive opposition as it was also crucial in the young democracy.

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.

Meanwhile, the counting of votes in the proportionate voting system was under progress, following which the final results would be declared.

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