- POSTED: 10 Dec 2013 20:11
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Nepal's election commission on Tuesday extended its deadline for parties to name proposed lawmakers, giving the routed Maoists more time to consider their options after they claimed the polls were rigged.
KATHMANDU: Nepal's election commission Tuesday extended its deadline for parties to name proposed lawmakers, giving the routed Maoists more time to consider their options after they claimed the polls were rigged.
The November 19 elections for a constituent assembly, expected to draft a constitution, saw the Maoists emerge a distant third behind the Nepali Congress and Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) parties.
Nepal has a dual system of both directly-elected seats and members nominated through proportional representation, with parties initially expected to submit lists of proposed lawmakers by December 10.
But the Maoists, who swept Nepal's first post-war elections in 2008, have so far refused to join the assembly without a probe into alleged poll-rigging.
"We have extended the deadline until December 18," chief election commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety told AFP.
"We felt that the timeframe needed an extension," Uprety said, declining to explain further.
Devendra Paudel, a senior Maoist leader, said the party would not commit to joining the assembly unless its demands were met.
"A commission should investigate the irregularities during the elections," Paudel told AFP.
Sources in various parties say the Maoists' other demand is that the constitution must be approved by all parties and not just by a two-thirds majority of lawmakers -- a condition expected to prolong the drafting process.
The Maoists won just 80 of the 575 seats up for grabs in the elections, while the Nepali Congress led with 196 and the UML got 175.
Seventy-eight per cent of registered voters cast their ballots in the polls, which received a clean bill of health from foreign observers.
The new government will nominate a further 26 members to join the 601-member constituent assembly, which will also function as a parliament.