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Nepal Leftist alliance 'on course for poll victory'

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Kathmandu, Dec 10 (UITV/IANS) - An alliance of Communist parties in Nepal was on Saturday leading the country's first election to the provincial and federal assemblies in a setback to the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) that is pro-India, the media reported.

The final phase of elections to the federal and seven provincial assemblies was held on Thursday aiming to restore democracy in the Himalayan nation hit by a decade-long civil war that ended in 2006 and years of instability after the monarchy was abolished in 2008. The counting of votes was underway, the Kathmandu Post reported.

The country's Left alliance, seen as closer to China, won 27 seats with the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) wining 21 while its partner CPN Maoist-Centre bagging 6 seats, according to the results released by Nepal's Election Commission.

The NC won 5 seats and the independent 1 out of the total 33 parliamentary seats whose results were declared, authorities said.

In these elections, Nepali voters will directly elect 165 national lawmakers while another 110 members of the lower house will be elected through the party-list proportional representation system, which takes into account the total number of votes secured by the parties.

Similarly, 330 members of the seven provincial assemblies will be elected directly while another 220 members will be elected through the same party-list proportional representation system.

In the provincial assembly, CPN-UML won 27, Maoist Centre got 19, NC 6 while Naya Shakti and independent got one each.

A total of 1,663 candidates contested polls for parliamentary seats while 2,819 were in the fray for the provincial assembly seats.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the holding of two-phased state and federal elections and said he hoped that all parties will maintain the same spirit in the next stages of the electoral process.

"These elections mark a historic moment for Nepal in implementing its federal structure as enshrined in the 2015 Constitution," UN Secretary-General's spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said.

The Carter Centre, election observation mission in Nepal, said that the federal and provincial elections were completed successfully despite political tensions, logistical, operational and security challenges and tight timelines.

Nepal has a total of 15.4 million registered voters, out of which more than 3 million had voted in the first phase of the elections on November 26 across 32 districts in the northern part of the country.