UML maintains tiny lead as vote-count nears completion;  Offices of Chief Election Officer come into operation in 4 provinces


Chief Election CommissionerKathmandu  / 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.

Offices of Chief Election Officer come into operation in 4 provinces

The offices of the Chief Election Officer have fully come into operation in 43 districts of Province 1, 2, 5 and 7 from Saturday in connection with the second phase of local level elections slated for June 14.

Spokesman for the Election Commission, Surya Prasad Sharma said that the offices of the Chief Election Officer have fully come into operation in the 43 districts from today.

The second phase of local elections is taking place for 461 local levels including 12 Sub-metropolitan Cities, 156 Municipalities and 293 Rural Municipalities.

The total number of voters in this election is 9 million 97 thousand 557.

The election officers shall conduct training for the employees on May 29.

As per the election programme, nomination of candidates shall take place on June 2, and the final name list of candidates will be published on June 5.

Similarly, the candidates will be assigned the election symbols on June 5 itself.

There will be 11 thousand 931 voting centres, according to the Election Commission. RSS

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