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article imageNepal Communist parties poised to take power

By AFP     Feb 8, 2018 in Politics

Nepal's Communist parties have secured a majority of seats in the upper house of parliament, the election commission said Thursday, paving the way for the leftist alliance to form the next government two months after historic general elections.

The alliance of the main Communist party and former Maoist rebels won a strong majority in the indirectly elected upper house, according to results announced Thursday.

The results of the national vote held late last year have not yet been confirmed, but an incomplete tally suggests the alliance also secured a majority in the directly elected lower house.

Last year's landmark elections capped Nepal's rocky 11-year transition from monarchy to federal democracy after a brutal civil war between Maoist guerrillas and the state.

The elections were the first under the country's new post-war constitution, which sets out a sweeping overhaul of the political system, devolving significant power from the centre to the seven provinces.

The final results were delayed by disagreements over how the new election rules in the constitution should be implemented.

But the alliance is on course to take a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament, elected through a mix of first-past-the-post and proportional representation.

"We hope the wait for a new prime minister will now be over," the English-language Republica newspaper said in an editorial.

The leader of the Communist CPN-UML, K.P. Sharma Oli, is tipped to be the next prime minister.

During his last term in office, relations between Nepal and its traditional ally India reached a nadir, as the Communist leader cosied up to China.

New Delhi appears determined to redress that balance and sent its foreign minister Sushma Swaraj to Kathmandu last week on a charm offensive.

India nearly doubled its aid to Nepal in its latest annual budget.

India has always had strong influence over its small northern neighbour, but in recent years Beijing has vastly outspent it, investing in large-scale infrastructure projects in Nepal.

The upper house is chosen by an electoral college of provincial lawmakers and other locally elected officials.

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