Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda on Thursday threatened a boycott of the Constituent Assembly if cases of alleged rigging are not addressed by the government and the Election Commission.
With initial results suggesting that the single largest party in Nepal’s 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), was likely to lose a significant number of seats in the second CA poll, its chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda on Thursday threatened a boycott of the Constituent Assembly if cases of alleged rigging are not addressed by the government and the Election Commission.
The party also demanded immediate suspension of vote counting, a demand other political parties rejected immediately.
The UCPN-M organised a press conference in Kathmandu on early Thursday morning soon after Prachanda was declared defeated by a Nepali Congress candidate in the Kathmandu-10 constituency amid indications coming from across the country that several senior party leaders were unlikely to make it to the new Constituent Assembly.
A fatigued and tired Prachanda said in the press conference that several cases of irregularities and rigging were found in the Nov 19 polls and they had taken the cases to the government and Election Commission.
“If our grievances and request are not heard, we are not going to take part in the next Constituent Assembly,” he said
Initial results suggested that the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) were leading in major constituencies pushing the UCPN-M far behind.
According to the Nepal’s Election Commission, the NC was leading in 75 seats, the CPN-UML in 48 and the UCPN-M in 19.
“If the counting process continues like this, ignoring our call and plea, we will not accept the results,” Prachanda said in the press conference, adding that the election process is “against the people’s mandate, conspiratorial and an unexpected one”.
He also blamed national and international power centres for his and his party’s defeat.
Prachanda’s remarks came after he had congratulated the Nepali people for participating in the polls Wednesday and making it largely free and fair.
After the UCPN-M’s allegations of rigging and irregularities, the Election Commission of Nepal has said that no sort of rigging was reported during the elections and asked the party’s leadership to take part in the vote-counting process.
“The election process is under way in a very transparent manner and it shows the reflection of the people’s aspirants,” Chief Election Commissioner Nil Kantha Uprety said.
Many international polls observers, including the Carter Centre, were monitoring the election process Thursday afternoon.
NC president Sushil Koirala asked the UCPN-M leadership to respect the verdict of the people and have faith in the democratic process.
“The Maoists’ decision to pull out their agents from the vote-counting centres is unfortunate. It is against democratic norms and values,” Koirala said.