Nepal re-polls areas for constitutional assembly

By: By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA
By: By BINAJ GURUBACHARYA


KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- Thousands of citizens in five areas of Nepal cast their votes again Thursday where re-polling was ordered after last week's election for an assembly to draft a constitution, officials said.

Home Ministry official Ekmani Nepal said polling was peaceful in all five constituencies where there was voting and there were no reports of violence or disruptions.

Re-polling was ordered in 22 of the 240 constituencies across Nepal for reasons including clashes between political rivals and allegations of fraud. Similar re-polling is expected in several others places Saturday.

The April 10 election was to choose the assembly that will rewrite the constitution and decide on Nepal's future political system.

The voting was to directly elect 240 members of the assembly. Another 335 were being selected through a system in which political parties are given seats in proportion to the percentage of votes they received. Twenty-six other seats were to be nominated by the government.

In the 218 directly elected seats where results have been announced, former communist rebels who are now called the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won 116 seats, followed by the Nepali Congress party with 33 seats and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) with 31 seats.

Final results for the 601-seat Constituent Assembly were still a few weeks off.

The former rebels appeared almost certain to capture more than half of the 240 directly elected seats and were doing well in the early count for the 335 proportional representation seats.

The poor performance in the election by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) - the two traditional political giants in Nepal - has come as a shock.

The United Marxist-Leninist have withdrawn from the government and their ministers have tendered their resignation while the Nepali Congress is also considering quitting the government after final results are declared.

Nepal's 10-year communist insurgency ended in 2006 when the Maoists agreed to join the political mainstream.

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