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Nepal local polls held peacefully, 73pc turnout

May 15 2017 | 11:10 am

KATHMANDU:  Nepal held the first phase of local elections successfully with polls largely witnessing peaceful participation of people. The first ever local election held after the hiatus of 20 years witnessed around 73 percent voter participation as per the preliminary estimate of the Election Commission.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav thanked the voters for the overwhelming participation in the local polls. “The first phase of local polls concluded in a peaceful manner except sporadic incidents,” said Yadav at a press meet organised at the Election Commission in Kathmandu on Sunday evening.

Compared to constituent assembly elections 2013, people’s participation in the local polls looks a little low but far higher compared to first CA elections in 2008. In 2013 CA elections, voters’ turnout was 78 percent while it was 59 percent in CA elections 2008.

He informed that the elections were conducted in only 281 of the planned 283 local units as the candidates were elected unopposed in Narfu Village Council of Manang district and Shey Phoksundo Village Council of Dolpa district.  A person was killed in a police firing in Melung, Dolakha and the polls have been postponed at a polling centre there as a group of people vandalized polling booth and attempted to loot election materials. The elections will also take place in other two polling centres at Namobuddha Municipality -4 of Kavre and Balachaur area of Kalika Village Council, Kalikot.

This is the first round of local body elections where some 50,000 contenders vied for the 13,556 positions in various places including Kathmandu Valley that covered nearly half of the country.

People who were eligible to vote cast their ballots at 6,642 polling stations.

The government deployed some 46,000 government staffs to the polling stations guarded by 75,000 security personnel including over 20,000 temporary police recruit during the one-day election.

Governing parties, Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the opposition Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) are main contenders in most of the places where elections were held on Sunday.

Local body elections followed by provincial and national elections should be held mandatorily by January 2018 as enshrined in the Nepali constitution.

Last time local representatives were appointed back in 1997, whose tenure expired after five years. Since then Nepal did not hold such local body elections.

According to the election commission, some 60 political parties fielded candidates whether for mayor, deputy mayor, and head of village councils.

Panipokhari

Kathmandu, Nepal

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