Results for Nepal’s national elections show its Maoist party has plummeted in popularity, coming in a distant third and suggesting the former rebels’ influence has diminished in the South Asian nation. The centrist Nepali Congress, one of the country’s oldest political parties, won 2.4 million proportional votes, followed by the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), which won 2.2 million votes, the Election Commission said Thursday. The main Maoist party, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), won 1.4 million votes. Exactly how the proportional vote, in which voters pick parties rather than candidates, will translate into seats in the new constituent assembly was expected to be announced by Sunday. Thursday’s count mirrored the results earlier this week of the direct voting, in which voters choose candidates rather than parties, announced earlier in the week. The candidates for the Maoist party—led by the revolutionary leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal —secured only 26 of the 240 seats.
The results raised hopes that a national constitution could be drafted as the two leading parties should be able to find common ground on many contentious issues such as federalism.
The results were also a painful defeat for the Maoists, who in 2008 emerged as the single largest party, sparking hope of political stability and inclusive governance with the end of a 10-year civil war. But soon after the monarchy was abolished and Nepal was declared a secular republic, the assembly became paralyzed as partisan squabbling sidelined economic development.
Full Article: Maoist Popularity Wanes in Nepal Election – WSJ.com.