Nepal elections pass off largely peacefully, turnout lower

Kathmandu: Nepal held largely peaceful elections to the federal Parliament and provincial Assemblies last week with some cases of violent clashes between party cadres reported, while voters’ participation, according to initial estimates, remained much lower than expected.

The elections for the members of the federal Parliament and provincial Assemblies concluded at 5 pm. Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya said that total turnout of November 20 election was 61 percent.

“We are hoping this is preliminary data… this percentage could climb slightly,” Thapaliya said at a press conference after completion of the elections.

“The commission is also surprised to see lower voting turnout. We are also looking into the reason behind low turnout, but we have not reached any certain conclusion yet,” he added.

One person died and elections were postponed or suspended in 15 polling stations, Thapaliya said, adding that the elections were concluded largely peaceful besides some sporadic incidents of clashes.

As soon as election results are out, the process of new government formation will begin in the Himalayan nation. Thapaliya said that it will take eight days to complete the vote counting. The voter turnout in the last elections in 2017 was around 70 per cent.

According to observers, the lower turnout this time can be taken as a growing frustration among voters.

NC-led coalition inches towards majority in Nepal

The Nepali Congress-led coalition has been inching closer to securing a majority in the parliamentary elections in Nepal, with the ruling alliance winning or leading in nearly 75 seats, according to latest trends.

The main opposition Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) has so far bagged three seats and is leading in 38 others. Nepali Congress has won 6 seats and has been leading in 46 others. Its alliance partners CPN-Maoist Centre has been leading in 17 seats, while CPN-Unified Socialist and Lokatantrik Samajwadi Party in 2 seats each.

Prime Minister and NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba is leading by 6,124 votes against his nearest contender Sagar Dhakal in Dadeldhura. Deuba has so far secured 13,126 votes, while independent candidate Dhakal garnered 7,002 votes.

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