KATHMANDU – Millions of people across 45 districts in central and southern Nepal voted on Thursday in the final phase of a general elections that will elect representatives to the country’s first bicameral legislature following the approval of the 2015 Constitution.
The mostly peaceful polls, that will elect members of the national and provincial assemblies to end almost two decades of an interim government, opened at 7:00 am and will conclude at 5:00 pm.
“The elections are taking place in a peaceful manner across the country except for some stray incidents,” Election Commission spokesperson Nabaraj Dhakal told EFE.
Two homemade bombs had exploded in Kathmandu’s Manamaiju area and in Dharan, located some 400 kilometers (around 250 miles) to the east of the capital, but did not cause any damage to life or property, he added.
By 10:00 am, around 20 percent of the 12.2 million people who were eligible to vote Thursday had cast their vote, Sudhir Shah, one of the five election commissioners, told EFE.
“We want stability so that the country can move toward prosperity. I hope this election gives us a stable government,” Yadav Dhakal, a 67-year-old retired teacher, told EFE after casting his vote.
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 in November.
With a total of 25 governments in the last 27 years, three of them in the last two years, Nepal has been steeped in grave political instability for long.
In these elections, Nepalese voters will directly elect 165 national lawmakers while another 110 members of the lower house will be elected through the party-list proportional representation system, which takes into account the total number of votes secured by the parties.
Similarly, 330 members of the seven provincial assemblies will be elected directly while another 220 members will be elected through the same party-list proportional representation system.
The first phase of the elections was held on Nov. 26 across 32 districts in the northern part of the country.
Counting will begin after voting concludes, with results expected to be announced sometime around next week.