04/12/2008, 00.00
NEPAL
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The Maoists lead in more than half of the constituencies

by Kalpit Parajuli
Initial results on more than 100 constituencies but the Maoists in the lead in more than 50 of them. They have been awarded 4 of the first 7 seats. But in many circumstances, the tallying has not yet begun. Voting in at least 60 seats has been nullified, and must be repeated.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Marxist Communist Party (Maoist) leads in over 50 of the more than 100 constituencies in which ballot counting has begun.  The Nepali Congress party is second, and leads in more than 20 constituencies, while the Unified Marxist-Leninist party (UML) is third.

The Maoists have also won 4 of the first 7 seats assigned.  They have obtained two seats in the capital, one in the Himalayan highlands, and another in the areas that they control, and are thus showing strength everywhere.  Many Maoists have already taken to the streets in Kathmandu and elsewhere, waving red flags and with their faces painted with communist symbols.

The Maoist Pampha Bhusal, elected in Kathmandu, is already developing political programmes and announcing that he wants to ensure the presence of women in all state agencies.

Although it is still early in the ballot counting, experts comment that this result exceeds the expectations of the former rebels, who are putting themselves to public voting for the first time.

Meanwhile, the electoral commission has nullified the voting in 60 seats of 16 constituencies, in which voters will have to be repeated.  A few other cases are still in question.

601 seats are in play, 240 of which will be assigned to those who receive the most votes in the constituencies, and 335 according to the proportional system, while the other 26 will be appointed by the provisional council of ministers.  The constituent assembly will have to rewrite the constitution, after 240 years of monarchy.  The population is assiduously following the radio and television, eager for every update.  But completing the ballot count is expected to take more than a week.

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