More than 65% vote in first phase of Nepal’s historic elections
More than 65% of eligible voters cast their ballots as Nepal held historic elections on Sunday for the first time since the declaration of the new constitution in 2015.
“Over 65% votes were cast and elections was largely peaceful,” chief election commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav told a press conference.
Of the total 15.4 million voters, 3.19 million were eligible to cast their ballots on Sunday in the first of two phases of elections to the federal and provincial assemblies, in a major step towards implementation of the new constitution. Voting was held in 32 districts and the remaining 42 will go to polls on December 7.
Two major communist parties--CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist) now rebranded as CPN (Maoist Center) -- are contesting against the ruling Nepali Congress.
Voting started at 7 AM and continued till 5 PM (local time). At least four people were injured in polling booths after clashing with security personnel. Election in west Rukum was postponed after an unidentified group hurdled acid on ballot boxes. Re-polls were ordered only in two out of 4,465 polling stations. The district of Bajura witnessed the highest turnout of 80%.
Except for minor scuffles, the elections was peaceful, said Yadav.
Sporadic violence and bomb blasts were reported in many districts in the run-up to the elections.
Sunday’s polling percentage was lesser than the 73% recorded in the local body elections held earlier this year. This is being attributed to the violence, attacks against candidates and freezing cold in hill and mountain areas which voted in the first phase.
Yadav said that ballot boxes were being collected from various polling booths and being ferried to district headquarters.
The counting will begin after the second phase is concluded, he said, adding that the security of the ballot boxes has been ensured.
The voting took place in 37 electoral constituencies of 32 districts. Altogether, 702 candidates are in the fray for 37 seats of parliament and 74 of provincial assemblies.
Overall, a total of 175 members of parliament and 350 members of provincial assemblies will be elected in seven provinces for five-year terms.
The second phase will see elections in 45 districts including Kathmandu valley and southern plains of Nepal, also known as Terai. (With inputs from agencies)