INTERNATIONAL

Nepal presidential run-off on Monday

Prerana Marasini

Nepali Congress candidate got highest votes in Saturday’s election

KATHMANDU: None of the candidates who contested in Nepal’s first presidential elections on Saturday could get the minimum votes required to get elected.

Ramraja Prasad Singh, nominated by the Maoists and who was tipped to win, got 270 votes, while the Nepali Congress’ candidate, Ram Baran Yadav, got 13 more votes. However, none of the candidates got the minimum number of votes — 298 of 594 — required to be declared the winner. Before polling began on Saturday, the CPN (UML), Nepali Congress and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum signed an agreement to support the NC’s candidate for the President’s post, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum for Vice-President and UML candidate as the Constituent Assembly (CA) chairman. This alliance shook the Maoists’ hold over the elections.

Election boycott

Meanwhile, only 578 CA members cast their votes. The Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal), Rastriya Janamorcha, Nepal Labour and Peasants Party, and CPN (Unified) boycotted the election. Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal) is the only pro-royalist party in the CA, while the Rastriya Janamorcha is against federalism. CA members of the CPN (Unified) said they didn’t take part as they want the President to be elected by consensus.

Later, CA chairman Kul Bahadur Gurung announced the run-off election would take place on Monday.

On the other hand, Paramananda Jha of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum won the vice-presidential election. He got 305 votes, while his closest contestant, Shanta Shrestha, who is backed by the Maoists, got 243.

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