Left alliance heading for majority in Nepal elections

Kathmandu: A left-wing alliance is heading towards a majority in Nepal’s parliamentary elections, winning 81 seats so far, preliminary results showed late on Sunday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed the vote as a “historic moment for Nepal”.

Leader of Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist–Leninist (CPN-UML), Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, is likely to return as prime minister to succeed incumbent Sher Bahadur Deuba of Nepali Congress. Oli had briefly served as premier from October 2015 to August 2016.

His party has formed an electoral alliance with CPN-Maoist-Centre led by former premier Prachanda in provincial and parliamentary elections. Oli won from Jhapa-5 constituency by over 28,000 votes defeating Nepali Congress candidate Khagendra Adhikari.

“We feel that the people accepted our appeal to vote for the ‘Left Alliance’ for stability and prosperity,” said senior CPN-UML leader Pradeep Gyawali to AFP.

According to results released by the Election Commission, CPN-UML has so far won 59 seats while CPN Maoist got 22 seats out of the total 165 seats. The ruling Nepali Congress managed to win only 13 seats.

Two Madhesi parties, Federal Socialist Party Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party, have won three Parliamentary seats each. The Rastriya Prajatantra Party, the Naya Shakti Party led by former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and an independent candidate have secured one seat each. Final results may emerge only after a week. These are the first elections to be held under a new constitution adopted in 2015.

The leftist alliance’s electoral success is linked to a strong nationalist and anti-India campaign. But after assuming power, the new left government may have to go the balancing act between its giant neighbours India and China in their foreign policy.

There are talks that the two left parties will merge to form a bigger communist party. Nepal’s voters may welcome such a move as they want a stable government which can bring progress to their Himalayan nation.