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Nepal's Stunning Result

Rejecting the electorate's mandate would be self-defeating for Nepal's Maoists.

In what has been a surprising result, the elections for the second Constituent Assembly (CA) of Nepal, held in November 2013, have relegated the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to the third position, well behind the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist – UML). The NC and the UML, which together dominated Nepal’s polity in the 1990s, have garnered close to a two-thirds majority in the second CA in both the first-past-the-post seats as well as the proportionally represented votes that are still being counted as we write this. The Maoists and the Madhesi parties, which had done exceedingly well in the 2008 elections, have been reduced to much smaller numbers.

The Maoists’ poor show has been surprising because they were the progenitors of the CA process in the first place and had been the leaders of the change from a monarchy to a republic. Therefore, the magnitude of defeat has stunned not just the Maoists, who have cried foul suggesting a conspiracy to rig the elections and have boycotted the election results and the remaining counting of votes, but most other observers of Nepal. While some electoral malpractices cannot be ruled out, the results appear to be a clear mandate. It would be damaging for the Maoists and the democratic process as a whole, if they remain obdurate about rejecting the electoral outcome.

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