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Nepal’s Congress-led ruling alliance set to win as election results pour in

Ruling coalition led by Deuba, Prachanda and Madhav Nepal is likely to form Nepal’s new government (Image courtesy: BBC Nepali Service)

The existing five-party ruling coalition in Nepal is highly likely to continue its alliance for the next five years following post-poll talks among its leaders.

An understanding between the key partners in the Deuba-led government has been reached to give continuity to the government, according to leaders.

Top leaders of the ruling alliance have intensified talks within the alliance to form the government.

On Monday morning, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who himself is keen to return to power, invited Pusha Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, chairman of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) and chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist) Madhav Kumar Nepal to his official residence in Baluwatar.

The heavyweights of the ruling alliance have principally agreed to continue the existing ruling coalition, according to sources.

The development comes at a time when the Congress-led ruling coalition is nearly winning a majority of parliamentary seats through recently-held elections.

Narayan Kaji Shrestha, vice president of the Maoist Center, a major partner of the five-party grouping, also indicated that the ruling alliance will continue for another five years as it has been able to get a clear majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

The alliance requires 138 seats in parliament to form the new government. Nepal’s House of Representatives will go into polls to elect a new prime minister as per the existing practice.

“As vote counting results nears the final stage, the ruling alliance has secured a majority of seats in parliament. Hence, it is highly likely that the existing alliance will continue,” Shrestha told India Narrative on Monday morning.

However, he said that the ruling parties are yet to hold a formal discussion on the formation of the post-election government. “Once the vote tally concludes, the ruling parties will work for the same,” Shrestha added.

Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, who is also a senior leader of the chief ruling party Nepali Congress, the partners in the coalition are principally agreed to run the coalition government for another five years.

“The coalition government will last another five years,” he told journalists in southwestern Bhairahawa city on Sunday.

Of the total 165 electoral constituencies under the directly elected First Past The Post (FPTP) category for the lower house of federal parliament, the poll results from 158 election constituencies have been made public by the Election Commission of Nepal. The poll results from the remaining seven constituencies are likely to be unveiled by Tuesday evening.

The main opposition Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), which went into polls in alliance with the Madhes-centric Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) and pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajantra Party (RPP), is at the second position by winning 42 seats under the FPTP category for the lower house while leading in one seat.

The key coalition partners in the incumbent Deuba-led government, the CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN (Unified Socialist) are in the distant third and fourth position with 17 and 10 seats respectively. The newly-formed Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) is in the fifth position with seven seats under the FPTP category. The Terai-centric Janta Samajbadi Party and Rajendra Lingden-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) managed to secure seven seats each, ranking in the sixth position.

Other three Terai-centric fringe parties LSP, Nagarik Unmukti Party and Janamat Party have secured four seats, three seats and one seat respectively.

As of now, incumbent PM Deuba and Maoist Centre Chairman Prachanda are seen as two key aspirants for the post of prime minister, the top executive post of the country. Apart from the two, leaders of the Nepali Congress Gagan Thapa, Prakashman Singh, Shashanka Koirala and Ram Chandra Poudel are also projecting themselves as the next prime minister.

On Monday morning, Poudel, a senior leader of the Congress party, met Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal to see the possibility of the formation of the government under his leadership.

UML’s Oli also eyeing for PM

The main opposition, the CPN (UML) Chairman Oli has also intensified talks with leaders of the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Center) to see the possibility of the new government under his leadership. Ahead of elections, Oli projected himself as the next prime minister, if elected.

Oli rang up Maoist Chairman Prachanda on Thursday while he invited Nepali Congress senior leader Prakash Man Singh to his residence on Sunday, apparently in his bid to form a government under his leadership.

NC emerges largest party, UML in second position under FPTP

The elections to the House of Representatives and provincial assemblies were held on November 20 and vote counting results from the elections are entering the final phase.

As per the vote counting results under the FPTP category for the HoR, the lower house of federal parliament, the Nepali Congress has emerged the single largest party with 53 seats while leading in two constituencies. It had fielded candidacy for 84 seats as per the seat-sharing arrangement between the ruling parties.

The Nepali Congress contested elections in an alliance with the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center), the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist), Rastriya Janamorcha and the Madhes-centric Loktantrik Samajbadi Party (LSP).

UML in top position under PR category, NC in second

The vote counting for the proportionate representation (PR) category for the House of Representatives is also underway.

As per the vote tally, the CPN (UML) is at the top position with 2,534,323 votes while the ruling Congress party is in the second position with 2,399,831 votes. The Ravi Lamichhane-led RSP has achieved 1,063,718 votes followed by the ruling CPN (Maoist Center) with 1,062,747 votes.

This was the second time Nepal held general elections after the promulgation of a new republican constitution in 2015.

The voter turnout of the elections was recorded 61%, the lowest ever since 2008 when Nepal entered the republican system abolishing a 240-year monarchy.

Of the total 275 seats of the House of Representatives, 165 seats are directly elected while the remaining 110 seats are allocated under the Proportional Representational (PR) category.

Among the 550 seats of the seven provincial assemblies, 330 are elected through direct election and the remaining 220 are elected under the PR system.

Also Read: With a hung parliament likely, who will run the next government in Nepal?