Nepal votes in final round of historic polls

Nepal votes in final round of historic polls

Polling for final phase of parliament and state assemblies was held in 45 districts of Nepal on Thursday. Counting of votes of the first phase of elections will start soon after the second phase polls are completed.

The voting, which began at 7 AM and closed at 5 PM, was by-and-large peaceful except some minor incidents of violence, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasadi Yadav said.

A total of 155,000 employees and 200,000 security personnel were deployed on poll duty.

The polls, that will elect members of the national and provincial assemblies to end nearly two decades of an interim government, opened at 7 a.m. and will conclude at 5 p.m.

Nepal's Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba also cast his vote from Dadeldhura district and returned to Kathmandu via Helicopter.

For the Parliament, 1,663 candidates contested while 2,819 candidates tried for the Provincial Assemblies.

It is the first time that Nepal is voting to choose a provincial council which only got enlisted in the Constitution promulgated late in 2015.

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Nepal has a total of 15.4 million registered voters, out of which more than 3 million had voted in the first phase of the elections that were held on November 26 across 32 districts in the northern part of the country.

The House of Representatives consists of 275 members.

The EC has arranged three sets of ballot papers-green for first-past-the-post (FPTP) candidates for the federal parliament, black for the FPTP candidates for provincial assemblies and light red for proportional representation (PR) system for both the federal parliament and provincial assemblies.

"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.

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

The ethnic Madhesi group complained that they deserved more territory in the province assigned to them because they represented a bigger population.

The polls are seen as a major step towards implementing the new Constitution.

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