Nepal held local-level elections for the first time since 1997 on Sunday. Three of the Himalayan country’s seven provinces, comprising 34 districts, voted, AFP reported. The remaining four provinces will vote on June 14.
Voting took place between 7 am and at 5 pm and voter turnout touched 71%. Counting is to begin on Sunday night and the results are expected to be declared next week, reported The Himalayan Times.
One person was killed after the police opened fire on a group of protestors trying to damage a poll booth in Dolakha district, around 180 km from Kathmandu. Voting was cancelled at three polling centres, one each in Kavre, Kalikot and Dolakha districts, and date for fresh voting will be fixed later.
Each voter cast their vote for seven posts: mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairman and four ward committee members. Nearly 50,000 candidates are in the fray across 281 municipalities in the first phase, with many fighting the elections as Independents. Two rural municipalities, one each in Manang and Dolpa districts, had unanimously elected their representatives without voting.
The local elections were split into two after the Madhesis, residents in the Terai region of Nepal which borders India, refused to take part in the electoral process unless a Constitutional amendment was effected.
The local body polls were last held in 1997. In the 10-year civil war that followed, the seats fell vacant and services were disrupted. As the country made a difficult transition from Hindu monarchy to secular democracy, the decision to hold the elections again was taken.