News

    Maoists Performing Better than Expected as Nepal Counts Votes

    Vote counting is under way in Nepal following the nation's historic constituent assembly election. Officials say preliminary reports indicate a high turnout and a low level of vote manipulation. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Kathmandu has the latest on the process that is expected to formally end more than 200 years of monarchy.

    Ballot boxes are being flown by helicopter and hand-carried by porters to counting centers across this remote Himalayan country.

    While there were a few incidents of violence, including some casualties, overall it appears that the first election here in nine years occurred with less trouble than predicted.

    Aditi Bhaduri of the Asian Network for Free Elections says it is still premature, however, for international observers to render a verdict on the integrity of the election.

    "Observers in Kathmandu are observing the counting. But most of our other observers are all coming back and we are having a debriefing about their observations yesterday across the five regions of Nepal. And tomorrow (Saturday) we'll be releasing our initial findings and observation," said Bhaduri.

    Initial results show the centrist Nepal Congress Party leading in about half of the districts in the capital. The Maoists, who were expected to do well in many rural areas, are making a better-than-predicted showing in some urban districts.

    The Maoists waged a decade-long civil war against the government to rid Nepal of the monarchy and have been in and out of the interim coalition government since signing a 2006 peace accord.

    Their strong showing does not worry jewelry merchant Mohan Rajbanshi, who runs a shop inside one of Kathmandu's top hotels.

    "They're also educated people and they will, I hope, make a good Nepal," he said.

    No one party is expected to be dominant. Regardless of the outcome there is tremendous anticipation here that the election will end years of bloodshed and bring peace to this impoverished nation.

    The 601-member special assembly is mandated to write a new constitution. The assembly is expected to formally put an end to the world's last Hindu monarchy, making Nepal a republic.

    Nepal is heavily dependent on foreign aid and Japan is the largest donor among foreign countries.

    An influential Japanese lawmaker who observed the election, Tadahiko Ito, told reporters Friday that while Nepal should not expect a boost in development assistance from Tokyo, the peaceful election will certainly yield economic dividends.

    Ito says political stability will heighten interest about Nepal among Japanese investors.

    Re-polling is expected to be needed at several dozen polling booths. Results for most, if not all, seats allocated by the constituency method are set to be announced in about 10 days. Two-thirds of the assembly will be seated through proportional representation and the complex calculation for those slots could take several weeks.

     


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora