Nepal Elections: Preparations for final phase completed

Sergio Conner
December 7, 2017

As per the new constitution of Nepal, it is mandatory to complete local, province and parliament elections by January 21 next year.

The Nepal poll panel said that four teams have been formed to count the votes, with each time comprising of seven members.

The elections will elect 128 Members of Parliament and 256 Members of the Provincial Assemblies.

A Nepalese policeman helps a woman to cast her vote during the legislative elections in Thimi, Bhaktapur, Nepal, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The northern, mountainous region voted on November 26.

Vote counting is expected to start later today. As many as 15,344 polling centres have been set out for the polling that started early today amid tight security and will continue till 5 pm. Now we want them to deliver peace and development.

The vote will establish the country's first provincial assemblies, devolving power away from a top-heavy central government that has cycled through 10 leaders in the last 11 years.

"Police personnel are committed to ensuring the security of candidates and voters so as to make the elections successful", Nepal Police spokesperson Manoj Neupane said. Vehicles were banned from the streets and voters walked to the polling stations in their neighborhoods.

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The elections are being seen as the final step in Nepals transition to a federal democracy following a decade-long civil war till 2006 that claimed more than 16,000 lives.

Years of political turbulence have hampered development in the impoverished Himalayan nation, which is still recovering from a powerful quake that hit more than two years ago, killing 9,000 people and destroying over half a million homes.

Security was stepped up for the elections, with thousands of police and army soldiers deployed.

But bickering among political parties delayed until 2015 the implementation of the new constitution, which declared Nepal a republic.

But it also sparked deadly protests in the south by ethnic minority groups who say it leaves them politically marginalised, and have demanded it be changed.

The polls are a major step toward implementing the new Constitution. Their protest blocked the border with India for months, cutting off fuel and other supplies in Nepal.

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