NC votes for top postsVote counting has started in Nepali Congress’s presidential election, in which 1,348 out of the total 1,361 eligible general convention representatives have voted.
Vote counting has started in Nepali Congress’s presidential election, in which 1,348 out of the total 1,361 eligible general convention representatives have voted.
The counting finally began at 2:00am on Monday, four hours behind schedule.
By the time we went to press at 3am, 600 votes had been counted. Deuba was leading in the initial count, but it was too early to make a projection. Final results were expected by 6am if the counting continued uninterrupted.
“Storm and other issues have affected our original timeline,” said Gopal Krishna Ghimire, a member of party’s election committee. “We hope to have complete results within 6am.”
The dispute over voting rights of the 30 general convention representatives nominated by late party President Sushil Koirala also led to the delay.
Party’s Acting President Ram Chandra Poudel wanted them to cast their votes, whereas senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba opposed the idea. The party statute is silent on the voting rights of nominated representatives. The dispute was resolved after party’s Central Election Committee also declined to allow them to vote.
Voting was held to elect office bearers and Central Working Committee (CWC) members. Polling began at 8am and the party’s election body had planned to wrap it up by 5pm, but it went until 10pm. Voting was disrupted as a storm tore down the makeshift voting booths, injuring three people. Convention representatives Sarita Rai, Sirjana Adhikari and Ram Yadav were injured.
The election committee had barred the 30 representatives from voting. They were supposed to attend the 12th convention but due to the dispute Koirala appointed them after the convention.
The representatives threatened to move the Supreme Court if they were denied the voting right. The party statute identifies five types of general convention representatives. The first kind from electoral constituencies can be candidates and cast votes. The second category comes from sister organisations of the party who enjoy both the rights.
The third group comes from the diaspora who can only cast their vote. The fourth group comes from the existing CWC who can stand in party posts. The 30 representatives fall under the fifth category whose voting rights are not clearly defined in the statute.
Senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, a candidate for the party president, was the first to vote, followed by Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Ram Chandra Poudel, both president hopefuls. There were separate ballot boxes for president, general secretary and treasurer plus open and reservation seats of the CWC.
Talking to reporters, both Deuba and Poudel expressed their confidence of winning the race. Counting of votes for other office bearers and CWC members begins only after the presidential ballot is counted.
According to Clause 16 of the NC statute, a candidate needs more than 50 percent of the total votes cast to be elected the president. If no candidate gets more than half the votes, there will be second round of voting between two top candidates. Counting of votes for general secretary, treasurer and CWC members, however, will begin from Monday afternoon.
Similar to the presidential race, there are separate candidates from the three panels for other top posts. On Deuba’s side, Arjun Narsingh KC is the general secretary candidate while Chitra Lekha Yadav runs for the treasurer’s post. Shashank Koirala and Sita Devi Yadav are general secretary and treasurer candidates from Poudel’s panel. Gagan Thapa is the general secretary candidate and Uma Kant Chaudhary has stood for treasurer from the Sitaula camp.