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Nepal: First phase of historic local-level elections begins

Kathmandu: The first phase of the historic local-level elections in Nepal has begun. The polls are Nepal’s first since the country adopted a new Constitution in September 2015.
Elections could not be held after 1997 due to the decade-long Maoist insurgency that has claimed more than 16,000 lives till now.

In the first round of elections for local bodies, around 50,000 contenders are vying for the 13,556 positions, the Anadolu Agency reports.

A vast majority of 15 million Nepalis who are eligible to vote will cast their ballot in 6,642 polling stations across the country, said Surya Prasad Sharma, an Election Commission spokesman.

As many as 46,000 civil servants have been deployed at the polling stations that will be guarded by about 75,000 security forces including over 20,000 temporary police recruit, according to the Election Commission.

The second round of elections is scheduled for mid-June.

However, doubts over the commencement of the second phase of the polls still dominate discussions in the political and public space.

The opposition is demanding that the second phase of polls be preponed, as the date for announcing the budget is prior to the date of the second phase and might influence voters.

Meanwhile, the political parties in Nepal reportedly reached an agreement to move ahead on the Constitution amendment process in Parliament on May 18. (ANI)