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Nepal Votes in Local Elections

Nepalese stand in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station during the local election in Bhaktapur, Nepal, on May 14.Nepalese stand in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station during the local election in Bhaktapur, Nepal, on May 14.

Millions of Nepalis headed to the polls on Sunday for a historic local election being held for the first time after the end of war nearly 10 years ago.

In the first round of elections for local bodies, around 50,000 contenders are vying for the 13,556 positions in areas that cover almost half of the country. The second round of elections is scheduled for mid-June, Anadolu Agency reported.

“A vast majority of 15 million Nepalis who are eligible to cast their ballot in 6,642 polling stations across the country,” said Surya Prasad Sharma, an Election Commission spokesman.

Authorities have deployed some 46,000 civil servants to the polling stations that were guarded by about 75,000 security forces, including over 20,000 temporary police recruit, according to the Election Commission.

“We are all set to start. The ballot papers and boxes have already reached the polling stations. Voters can get their IDs from those stations,” he said.

The polls are Nepal’s first since the country adopted a new constitution in September 2015.

In the country’s capital Kathmandu, the ruling parties—Nepali Congress and the Maoists—and the opposition Unified Marxist-Leninist, face challenges from new political forces.

Some 60 political parties have fielded candidates whether for mayor, deputy mayor and head of village councils, the Election Commission said.

About 60% of the candidates are men. Under Nepalese law, parties are required to field at least one woman candidate in one local body.

 

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