UML maintains tiny lead as vote-count nears completion

Published On: May 20, 2017 12:40 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 20: As vote-counting for the first round of local elections is about to be completed the main opposition CPN-UML has emerged as the largest party in terms of winning the posts of chiefs and other positions in the  283 local units that voted. 

The Election Commission (EC) conducted the first round of elections in 283 local units of  34 districts. By the time of going to press, the EC had completed vote counting in 251units. 

Out of all the local units, the UML  bagged chiefs and other positions in 102 local units, followed by the ruling Nepali Congress (NC). Another ruling party CPN (Maoist Center) was lagging far behind in the vote count.  NC emerged victorious in 97 local units while the Maoists won chiefs and other positions in 46 local units. 

Independents claimed victory in three local units while other parties also bagged the chief and other positions in three local units. 

Vote counting was underway in 30 local units, while the EC is yet to conduct polls in two rural municipalities.  

The EC is being criticized for the slow count. Large-size ballot papers, multiple symbols and repeated disputes among parties regarding valid votes are being cited  as major reasons behind the slow vote count. 

Widely criticized  from all quarters,  election officers have increased the number of vote-counting centers in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bharatpur and Pokhara and in Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan City, where the numbers of voters are huge  compared to other local units. 

By  9 p.m. Friday, UML candidates were leading in the three cities of Kathmandu, Bharatpur and Pokhara while Congress was leading in Lalitpur and Hetauda. 

In Kathmandu, election officers have began to count the votes at 13 separate centers. "Officials are counting votes in 13 different centers for Kathmandu Metropolitan City. It will still take four to five days to complete the vote count in the major metropolitan cities," said EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma. 

According to  Sharma, vote counting is likely to be completed soon  except in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bharatpur, Pokhara and Hetauda  and two rural municipalities. 

The EC is yet to conduct the polls in two rural municipalities-Melung Rural Municipality of Dolakha and Narharinath Rural Municipality of Kalikot. Polls in these units were cancelled following the killings of a youth in Dolakha and a party cadre of Rastriya Prajatantra Party in Kalikot. 

"Elections are scheduled for Sunday and vote counting will be completed within a couple of days as the number of voters is not so huge," said Sharma.  

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