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Nepal ruling coalition loses majority in election

By AFP
December 08, 2022

KATHMANDU: Nepal´s ruling coalition has lost its majority in parliament, results from last month´s election showed on Wednesday in a rebuke by voters to the Himalayan republic´s ageing political elite.

The Nepali Congress of incumbent Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, 76, emerged as the largest party but his five-party ruling alliance fell short of a majority with 136 seats in the 275-member parliament, according to the Election Commission.

“Our party has emerged as the largest party. Still, it´s not the result in line with our expectation. We had expected more,” Prakash Sharan Mahat, a spokesperson for the Nepali Congress, told AFP.

As a result, Congress will have to seek support from some of the 34 independent and minor party candidates who entered the assembly for the first time in a wave of voter discontent. Prominent among them is bombastic television host Rabi Lamichhane, 48, a long-time campaigner against government corruption, who will play a key role in any negotiations.

His National Independent Party, contesting its first election, won 20 seats and became the fourth-largest in the assembly. “We will meet the shortfall for the majority by bringing other parties into the fold. Some of them have shown their interest for a partnership with the coalition,” Mahat said.

The November 20 election was just the second held under the current constitution, which ushered in a new political order after the conclusion of Nepal´s traumatic Maoist insurgency. The decade-old civil war ended in 2006, having claimed more than 17,000 lives and prompting the abolition of the monarchy, bringing former rebels into the government fold.

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