Early results showed that the Maoists were leading in just six per cent of the 159 constituencies where counting is under way.

Nepal’s key Maoist party on Thursday walked out of counting of the votes polled in the elections to the second Constituent Assembly, alleging that the process was marred by rigging and malpractice.

The decision was announced after Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal, known better as Prachanda, came in third in Kathmandu.

“We urge the election commission to stop the counting,” Mr. Dahal said, speaking to journalists.

Early results showed that the Maoists were leading in just six per cent of the 159 constituencies where counting is under way.

Baburam Bhattarai, vice-chairman of the UCPN(M) and former Prime Minister, was trailing in the western district of Rupandehi.

In a statement, civil society activists Amuda Shrestha, Chandrakishore, Charan Prasai, Kanak Mani Dixit and Subodh Raj Pyakurel called on the UCPN (M) “to accept the people’s verdict, take care that its actions do not become an embarrassment before the world, return to the ballot-counting process and prove its commitment to democracy through its deeds.”