Nepal vote counting under way

Complete count of Thursday's historic elections to take several weeks.

    Nepalis voted in large numbers
    on Thursday

    Scattered shootings and clashes that killed two people on election day - and eight others in the days leading up to the poll - did not deter millions of Nepalis from casting ballots in Thursday's vote.
     

    The deal followed months of unrest that forced Nepal's King Gyanendra to cede absolute power, which he had seized the year before.

     

    But getting through the election was just the first step towards a new beginning for Nepal.

     

    Long wait

     

    None of the 54 parties vying for seats in the assembly is expected to win by a landslide, and with 20,000 voting stations spread across the Himalayan land - some a seven-day walk from the nearest paved road - officials said it could be several weeks before a complete tally is ready.

     

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    With such a long a gap between the election and the results, there are fears of instability and unrest as the parties jockey for position to contest what piecemeal results do leak out.

     

    A bomb exploded on Friday near a building where votes were being counted at Birgunj, about 160km south of the capital Kathmandu.

     

    No one was hurt, Bhola Siwakoti, chief administrator in the area, said.

     

    On Friday, the election commission released the results for one seat in Kathmandu, which was won by Nepali Congress.

     

    The voting for that seat was carried out electronically - most others used paper ballots - allowing authorities to tally the results quickly.

     

    Laxman Bhattarai, the commission spokesman, said there would be re-polling in at least 60 locations because of voting irregularities, and the number could rise as election complaints are investigated.

     

    Several candidates have claimed their supporters were barred from voting by rival groups and have complained of election fraud.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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