We will get majority, claim three Nepal parties

April 10th, 2008 - 3:00 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, April 10 (IANS) The three biggest partners in Nepal’s ruling coalition are all claiming they will win a majority in Thursday’s constituent assembly election, which is expected to not only lead to the framing of a new constitution but also shape the future of politics in the country. Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s political heir in the past and could regain his position, says his Nepali Congress (NC), the biggest party in parliament, will sweep Thursday’s election.

Of the 240 seats contested directly, Deuba predicts the Nepali Congress will bag 130 to 140 seats.

For the 335 seats to be decided on the basis of proportional representation (PR), Deuba, who made history by being sacked twice by King Gyanendra, estimates that his party would clinch at least 150 seats.

According to Deuba, who is in direct fray from remote Dadeldhura district, the party’s USP is its legacy of fighting for democracy since the 40s, its policies for uplifting backward communities, and its liberal policies towards foreign investment and hydropower development.

The Nepali Congress’ traditional rival, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, is also claiming it would get majority vote in the election to pick a 601 member assembly.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, former deputy premier and chief of the party who is in the direct contest from trouble-prone Rautahat district in the Terai, is unwilling to come up with an exact figure. However, he estimates his party will win over 35 percent seats, Nepali Congress 30 percent and the Maoists about 15 percent.

Nepal sees no chance of the royalists winning in the direct contests if the poll is free and fair but concedes they could get some seats in the PR system.

Maoist chief Prachanda, who cast his vote after 28 years, predicted victory for his party. He said there was a wave among people for change and a “new Nepal”.

Prachanda predicts his party will win 130 to 150 seats in the direct fight and about 40 percent of the seats under the PR system.

Asked if his party would go underground again and resume arms if it loses, he said: “We can’t lose.”

“We will accept any verdict if the election is free and fair,” he adds. “But we will not accept any sleigh of hand, conspiracy or betrayal.”

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