Millions of people in southern Nepal voted Thursday in the final phase of mostly peaceful elections for members of the national and provincial assemblies. The two-phase election is the first for members in the seven provincial assemblies established under the constitution that was adopted in 2015 after initially being rejected by ethnic groups in southern Nepal. The assembly members will name the seven states formed under the constitution and will draft provincial laws.
Thursday’s voting involves about 12 million people in the southern half of the Himalayan nation, nearly 80 percent of the population. The northern, mountainous region voted on November 26. Counting of all the votes is expected to start Friday and take several days as some of the ballot boxes must be transported from remote villages to counting centers.
People holding their voting cards in their hands lined up before polling stations opened at 7 a.m. in the capital, Kathmandu. “I am here to vote today because it is the first election for provinces with the hope these provincial governments would be able to deliver development to a focused and concentrated areas,” said Kedar Sharan Raya, 74-year-old retired advocate. “I am voting after many years because there is new hope in the country with the establishment of provinces,” said Iswor Prasad Shrestha, 70, businessman.
Police spokesman Manoj Nupane said voting o...