Maoists fall short of majority in Nepal election

Other News Materials 21 April 2008 14:01 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Nepal's royal palace Monday denied speculation in media about the king's future intentions, and described published reports as fabricated.

"The royal palace denies any speculative reports appearing on national and international media," a statement said.

There have been intense speculations about what King Gyanendra will do following the constituent assembly elections in which the Maoists are sure to become the largest single party but without a majority.

Last week, Maoist leader Prachanda said the king needed to be "honourably" removed from power.

Another leader Babu Ram Bhattarai even suggested to Nepalese media that king might be given some kind of cultural role after he steps down.

But other speculation ranged from the king fleeing the country to making a last stand to hold on to his powers.

The speculations came as votes counting continued from 10 April elections to choose a 601 constituent assembly.

The figures provided by the Election commission said of the 240 constituencies for which direct elections were held, the Maoists won 120 seats.

The Nepali Congress of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala won 37 and the moderate Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist took 33 seats.

Despite the Maoists' success, they were projected to fall short of the 301 seats needed for a simple majority in the constituent assembly, which is tasked with drafting Nepal's new constitution and ratify the interim parliament's decision to abolish monarchy.

The Election Commission said the Maoists had received nearly 30 per cent of the votes in the proportional representation which will decide 335 seats.

"There are less than a 15 per cent of the votes which remains to be counted in the proportional representation and the current projection is the Maoists will get another 100 seats in addition to the 120 already won in the direct elections," analyst Sudarshan Shrestha said.

"A total of 220 or 230 seats for the Maoists will still be far short of the majority."

Despite its poor showing in the direct elections, Nepali Congress has so far received about 21.5 per cent of the total votes in the proportional representation which will push up its total seats in the constituent assembly to just over 100 seats.

The Election Commission said the final results were expected by Tuesday evening.