KATHMANDU, May 16: Early vote counting has shown a triangular competition emerging among the three major political parties-Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center)-in the first phase local elections held on Sunday.
Election officials have started counting the votes cast in 275 of the 283 local units that went to the polls. Of these, representatives in two rural municipalities were elected unopposed while the EC has announced it is to conduct re-elections in some wards of eight rural municipalities.
Elections in the remaining 461 local units are scheduled for June 14.
Details collected by our correspondents as of Wednesday evening show the main opposition UML has emerged victorious in 14 local units, winning the position of chiefs and other positions, while Nepali Congress won the chiefs and other posts in 14 local units. Maoist Center is third with wins in 11 posts.
The UML emerged winner in Kaike Rural Municipality, Thulibheri Municipality and Shey-Phoksundo Rural Municipality of Dolpa district, and Chame Rural Municipality, Nesyang Rural Municipality and Gharapjhong Rural Municipality in Mustang.
Similarly, UML won Phedikhola Rural Municipality of Syangja, Madi Rural Municipality of Kaski, Mahankal Rural Municipality in Lalitpur, Dhorchaur Rural Municipality of Salyan, Devghat Rural Municipality of Tanahun, and Gosaikunda Rural Municipality of Rasuwa. The party also bagged posts of chiefs and other positions in Narayan Municipality of Dailekh and Thulibheri Municipality, Dolpa.
NC has won the posts of chiefs and other positions in 13 local units. The party won these positions in Nasong Rural Municipality and Narfu Rural Municipality of Manang and Barhagaun Mukti Kshetra Rural Municipality, Lomangthang Rural Municipality and Thasang Rural Municipality of Mustang.
Similarly, the NC won the chiefs and other positions of Kushe Rural Municipality of Jajarkot, Tamankhola Rural Municipality of Baglung, Dungeshwar Rural Municipality of Dailekh, Bungdeekali Rural Municipality of Nawalparasi, Sinja Rural Municipality of Jumla, Chumnubri Rural Municipality of Gorkha, Patarasi Rural Municipality, Jumla and Triveni Binayi Rural Municipality of Nawalparasi.
The Maoist party won the chiefs of 11 local units. The party, which is seen third in the race after UML and NC, won the chiefs of Guthichaur Rural Municipality (Jumla), Sani Triveni Rural Municipality (Kalikot), Jagadulla Rural Municipality (Dolpa), Munkechula Rural Municipality ( Dolpa) and Hima Rural Municipality (Jumla).
The party also won the chiefs and other positions in Tajakot Rural Municipality ( Humla), Marin Rural Municipality (Sindhuli), Darma Rural Municipality (Salyan), Sani Bheri Rural Municipality (Rukum), Konjyosom Rural Municipality (Lalitpur) and Musikot Municipality (Rukum).
Independent candidate Lopthang Tsering Bista (Raju) was elected chief of Dalome Rural Municipality. Another independent candidate, Temba Gurung, won chief of Chhaka Rural Municipality, Dolpa.
The Election Commission said local election offices have formally declared the results of 22 local units. Of these, according to EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma, NC, CPN-UML and the Maoists have won seven chiefs of local units each. An independent candidate won chief of one local unit.
The slow vote count has drawn criticism from all quarters. The EC has blamed the large-size ballot papers, repeated disputes among the parties contesting the elections and the multiple election symbols for the slow count.
Concerned over the criticism, the EC has instructed election officers to involve more civil servants and representatives of political parties in the counting. Following this, election officer in Kathmandu have began to count the votes in three separate places and the number of these places is expected to increase to five by Wednesday morning, according to UML leader Sabitra Bhusal. In Bharatpur, the parties have reached an agreement to count the votes at 10 different centers.