[JURIST] The Communist Party of Nepal – Maoists (CPN-M) [party website; JURIST news archive] has won 27 constituencies where vote counting has been completed in the election for Nepal's Constituent Assembly, election officials said Saturday. The 601 member assembly will be in charge of drafting a new constitution [JURIST news archive], which is seen as marking the end of the country's 240-year-old monarchy. The Assembly will have 240 of its members decided by the polls, 335 seats based upon proportional representation, and 26 named by the cabinet. According to the Election Commission of Nepal [official website] the CPN-M, a former rebel group still considered a terrorist group by the US, has a lead in the polls in 61 other constituencies where voting is still being conducted. Additionally, the former leader of the Maoist insurgency, Prachanda [BBC profile], won a seat in a constituency in the capital city, Kathmandu. The final vote count for all 240 constituencies is expected to take several weeks.
The vote for the assembly and the abolition of the monarchy were the main parts of a 2006 peace agreement [text; JURIST report] between the CPN-M and the Nepalese government, which marked the end of the 10-year-long Maoist insurgency [JURIST report]. The polls are the first for Nepal since 1999. Reuters has more. eKantipur has local coverage.