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Ruling NC leads, Communists in 2nd spot as new party too makes a mark in Nepal polls

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is leading by a wide margin over his nearest rival during early count

Two traditional parties—the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist)—are ahead of other political parties as the preliminary vote counting for Nepal’s House of Representatives and provincial assembly elections is underway.

As per the overall national vote counting results made public by the country’s Election Commission, the ruling NC is in the first position followed by the main opposition CPN (UML) under the first-past-the post category (FPTP).

But the freshly minted Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) is in the third position followed by the ruling CPN (Maoist Center).

As the vote counting is underway, officials at Nepal’s poll body say it may take at least two more days to announce the final vote tally.

Nepal held the federal parliament and provincial assembly elections on Sunday, November 20, in a single phase across the country. This was the second time Nepalis voted for the general elections after the promulgation of a republican constitution in 2015.

Out of a total of 275 members of the federal Parliament, 165 are to be elected through direct voting (first-past-the-post) and the remaining 110 are to be elected through proportional representation (PR) category.

Similarly, out of a total of 550 members of the provincial legislatures, 330 are to be elected directly and 220 to be elected through the PR system.

Ruling Congress maintains early lead in FPTP category

In its latest update on the polling results, the Election Commission said that the ruling NC has secured four seats while taking lead in the vote count in 46 seats under the House of Representatives, lower house of federal parliament. So far, the party has managed four seats while leading the vote count in 59 seats under seven provincial assemblies.

The UML has won two seats while leading in 43 seats under the lower house so far. The party has not won any seats under provincial assemblies while leading in at least 53 seats.

UML takes lead in PR category

The UML, however, is in the first position followed by the ruling NC under the proportional representation (PR) category.

In its update, the election body stated that UML has bagged 76,323 votes while the ruling NC is in the second position with 65,792 votes. The Rastriya Swatantra Party is in the third position, garnering 33,337 votes.

Similarly, the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) and the royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have got 29,651 and 19,044 votes to stand fourth and fifth respectively.

Rise of Raut-led Janamat Party in Madhes

Nepal’s Madhes Province, which shares a close socio-cultural connection with neighboring India, has seen the emergence of Janamat Party led by CK Raut following the recent elections.

The older Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) led by Upendra Yadav and Loktantrik Samajbadi Party (LSP) led by Mahantha Thakur—who had been dominant players both in national and regional politics for the past one decade, are performing poorly in the vote counting.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Raut-led Janamat party managed to secure two provincial assembly seats while obtaining significant votes in several constituencies in Madhes province under the proportional representation (PR) category.

The Janamat Party, which joined the peaceful parliamentary politics only in 2019 after quitting the secessionist movement, is likely to earn the ‘national party status’, media reports said.

Key leaders about to secure their wins

Key political leaders of Nepal including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli are taking leads in the vote counting and are close to secure wins.

New faces including Sagar Dhakal, Ravi Lamichhane and Sobita Gautam, who are mostly in their thirties, are battling strongly with the older politicians.

Also Read: NextGen takes on Old Guard in Nepal polls

(Santosh Ghimire’s is the Nepal correspondent of India Narrative based in Kathmandu)