Nepal votes counted, but new government could take days

FILE- An election commission staff separates ballot papers to count a day after the general election in Kathmandu, Nepal, Nov. 21, 2022. Nepal has finished counting the votes that were cast in the Nov. 20 parliamentary elections, an election official said Wednesday, in polls that will ultimately determine the next prime minister. But formation of a new government could take days as no single party has secured a majority in the House of Representatives, the lower house of Parliament. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal has finished counting the votes that were cast in the Nov. 20 parliamentary elections, an election official said Wednesday, in polls that will ultimately determine the next prime minister.

But formation of a new government could take days as no single party has secured a majority in the House of Representatives, the lower house of Parliament.

Election Commission spokesperson Guru Wagle said Wednesday that all votes have been counted and results are being sent to the political parties. Once the new House convenes, the prime minister is chosen among them with the support of at least half the total members.

Nepal’s lower house has a total of 275 members, out of which 165 are directly elected and the remaining 110 chosen by the political parties, with seats allocated in proportion to the votes they get.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's ruling Nepali Congress has the most votes. Its five-party alliance, which announced in a statement earlier this week that they would continue their partnership, has secured 135 seats. They need just two more members for a majority in the new House.

Deuba is likely to maintain his role as his party has the most members elected.

The final results are likely to take a few more days because the parties must finalize the 110 seats allocated through the proportional election system.