Peaceful conduct of elections 'historic moment' for Nepal, says United Nations chief

Supporters of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal during a rally marking the 17th anniversary of the

The election in Nepal is being seen as the final step in country's transition to a federal democracy following a decade-long civil war till 2006 that claimed more than 16,000 lives.

An official from the election commission pours the ballot papers from the box, as officials start counting the votes, a day after the parliamentary and provincial elections in Kathmandu, Nepal December 8, 2017. The party has been elected in five federal constituencies and is leading in 35 constituencies.

Two former Prime Ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai have also won.

The alliance of the Communist Parties of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) and the Maoist Center (CPN-MC), who formed a coalition in October, has so far taken a two-thirds lead in the initial vote count.

In the provincial assembly, CPN-UML has won 27, Maoist Centre 19, Nepali Congress 6, Naya Shakti and independent one each.

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Nepal is a natural buffer between the two and the outcome could indicate whether China or India gets the upper hand in the battle for influence in a nation rich in hydropower and home to Mount Everest.

Guna Raj Luintel, the editor of Nagarik, saidit was nearly certain the leftist alliance would win. "If that happened, that will be a landslide win", Luintel said.

The house of representatives consists of 275 members, of which 165 would be elected directly under the first-past-thepost system while the remaining 110 will come through the proportional representation system.

"These elections mark a historic moment for Nepal in implementing its federal structure as enshrined in the 2015 Constitution", said a statement issued Friday by Mr. Guterres' Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, following Thursday's completion of the second phase of voting.

Few results are in from the southern plains, home to almost half of the population, and communists are thought to have weaker support there.

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