Nepali Congress today gained a slender lead over its nearest rival CPN-UML in the proportionate voting system, a day after the party won the most seats in the direct election for Nepal's new assembly.
Nepali Congress led by Sushil Koirala received 15.78 lakh votes, followed by CPN-UML, headed by Jhalanath Khanal, which bagged 15.70 lakh votes. Prachanda-led UCPN-Maoist got 9.35 lakh votes.
Surprisingly, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal), which is advocating a constitutional monarchy and reinstating Nepal as a Hindu state, has secured fourth position in the proportionate voting with the party receiving 3.95 lakh votes.
There are altogether 335 seats allotted in the 601-member Constituent Assembly under the proportionate voting system.
The counting of votes will lead to the formation of a 601-member Constituent Assembly, including 240 elected through direct voting. Proportionate voting will elect 335 members and the remaining 26 will be nominated by the government.
The assembly will draft Nepal's new Constitution.
Under proportionate representation (PR) system, the entire country is considered as one election constituency and seats are allocated in proportion to the vote secured by respective political party.
Altogether 10,709 candidates from 122 political parties are contesting under the PR system. The 335 seats will be divided among the 122 competing parties according to the proportion of the total votes each party gets.
A party needs to win 301 seats for an absolute majority.
Nepali Congress yesterday won 105 seats emerging as the leading party after counting of votes for 240 seats under the direct election system.
The current election is only the second to be held since a civil war launched by Maoist rebels ended in 2006. Nepal was then transformed into a secular republic.
The country plunged into a constitutional crisis after the previous Constituent Assembly was dissolved without promulgating the Constitution last year, and fresh elections scheduled for November 2012 were not held.
With the formation of an election government led by Khil Raj Regmi in March this year, parties agreed after prolonged talks to conduct the polls in June or by December.
Political infighting, including a split in the ruling Maoist party last year, confounded efforts to implement a peace plan meant to rebuild Nepal after the 10-year civil war.