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Nepal Maoists to dominate new govt PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 April 2008

Nepal''s Maoists are set to dominate a new assembly tasked with rewriting the Himalayan nation''s constitution but are likely to be short of an absolute majority, officials said Friday, reports AFP.

With the count from the April 10 elections still in progress and 601 seats in a constitutional assembly up for grabs, the former rebels have won nearly half of the 240 seats allocated by the first past the post system.

They are also on track to win around a third of the 335 seats allocated by proportional representation, election official Dilliram Bastola told AFP.

This would give them a total of around 230 or more seats in the assembly-making them the largest single bloc but still required to work with their mainstream rivals. The count is expected to be finished next week, after which a new interim government will also be formed on the basis of the results.

"The Maoists will not be able to get a clear majority," political analyst Bhaskar Gautam told AFP. "They will need around 60 percent of votes under the proportional representation system, which is impossible. They will probably end up with between 240-260 seats."

The performance of the fiercely republican Maoists almost certainly means the end of King Gyanendra''s 240-year-old dynasty, as the body is supposed to officially abolish the monarchy in its first meeting.

The elections were a central part of a 2006 peace deal that ended a decade-long Maoist insurgency.

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