Voting In Nepal: Voting took place amid tight security on Sunday (20 November) to elect members of the new parliament and provincial assemblies in Nepal. Voters in Nepal are voting in hopes of ending the political instability that has plagued the country for more than a decade and hindered development.
Voting began at 7 am local time at more than 22,000 polling stations across the country. The country’s Home Secretary Binod Prakash Singh told reporters that till 2 pm local time, 46 per cent polling had taken place across the country. Barring a few minor incidents, the polling was largely peaceful. A minor explosion occurred near the Sharda Secondary School polling booth in Dhangarhi sub-metropolitan town of Kailali district, officials said. There was no casualty during this. Voting resumed at the polling station after half an hour’s disruption due to the blast, he said.
There was a heated argument
Some incidents of heated exchanges between workers of different parties have been reported from 11 areas of Dhangarhi, Gorkha and Dolakha districts, but these did not affect the voting. Meanwhile, the country’s Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba cast his vote in his home district of Dadeldhura.
President of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and former Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli casts his vote at a polling station in Suryabinayak Municipality of Bhaktapur district near Kathmandu.
CPN-Maoist Center President and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ cast his vote at a polling station in Bharatpur municipality of Chitwan district. Meanwhile, 113-year-old Gopi Maya Pokharel exercised her franchise and became the oldest person to vote in the country. Pokhrel cast his vote in Tanhun district, 220 km west of Kathmandu.
Officials told that according to Pokhrel’s citizenship certificate, his date of birth is June 22, 1909. He cast his vote at a polling station located at Mahadebata Primary School, Sepabgaicha, Bhanu municipality in Tanhun district.
Counting of votes will start on this day
Similarly, 107-year-old Jasmani Kami cast her vote at a polling booth in the National Secondary School in Mayagarhi district. Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapliyal said that the counting of votes would begin at 9 pm on Sunday night amid tight security. After voting at a polling station in Bhaktapur, Thapliyal said that after the voting is over, all the ballot boxes will be collected at the counting centers by 7 pm.
What did the Election Commission say?
Nepali media quoted Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapliyal as saying, ‘‘After that we will hold a meeting with all the parties for about an hour and we expect the counting of votes to begin by 9 pm.’’ 10,892 polling stations were set up for the election and 17,988,570 people were declared eligible to vote.
Reason for conducting the election
Thapliyal said that the commission will announce all the results of the elections in the next eight days, while the results of the proportional representation election system will be announced by December 8. Elections are being held for 275 seats in the federal parliament and 550 seats in seven provincial assemblies in Nepal.
Out of a total of 275 members of the Federal Parliament, 165 will be selected through direct voting, while the remaining 110 will be elected through a ‘proportional election system’ Will be selected through Similarly, out of a total of 550 members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies, 330 will be directly elected, while 220 will be elected through the proportional system.
Political observers closely following the elections have predicted a hung parliament and the formation of a government that will fail to provide much-needed political stability in Nepal.
The parliament has been politically unstable since the end of nearly a decade of Maoist insurgency in Nepal, and no prime minister has completed a full term since the end of the civil war in 2006.
Frequent changes in leadership and infighting between political parties are said to be the reason for the country’s slow economic development. There are two major political alliances in the fray – the Democratic and Leftist Alliance led by the ruling Nepali Congress and the Leftist, Hindu and Pro-Monarchy Alliance led by the CPN-UML (Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist).
< p style ="text-align: justify;">What will be the challenge?
The next government will face the challenges of maintaining a stable political administration, reviving the tourism industry and balancing relations with its neighbours, China and India. The Election Commission of Nepal has deployed 2,76,000 personnel to conduct elections in all 77 districts.