Polls: Nepali Congress leads in 33 places, UML in 23

Kathmandu, Nov.20 (ANI): The Nepali Congress is leading in 33 places in elections to choose a new Constituent Assembly.

The Communist Party of Nepal (UML) is running a close second, leading in 23 places, while the UCPN (Maoist) is leading in 10 places.

The counting of votes began on Wednesday. Election Commission official Bir Bahadur Rai was quoted, as saying that the counting started in several districts and that boxes filled with ballot papers had reached counting centres in at least 20 districts.

In Kathmandu, ballot boxes collected from all 10 constituencies were opened at the International Convention Centre and counting of ballot papers was begun.

Nepal has 75 districts, of which most of them are mountainous.

More than 70 per cent of the 12 million eligible voters cast their votes yesterday to choose the 601-member Constituent Assembly that would double as parliament.

First results are expected by late Wednesday and final results are going to take at least a week.

One an assembly is established, it will work on the long-delayed constitution. The last assembly elected in 2008 failed to fulfil the task because of squabbling among political leaders over who would lead the nation.

A split result is expected.

There have been sporadic incidents of violence.

A bomb exploded near a polling station in Kathmandu injuring three people on Tuesday.

Opposition activists stormed a polling station in west Nepal village, forcing police to open fire in the air.

The alliance of 33 opposition parties had vowed to disrupt the polls and declared a nine-day transport blockade.

At least 30 people were injured in small bomb blasts and other violence in the run-up to the election. (ANI)