Voting begins in Nepal

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About 17.988 million voters are eligible to elect 275 members to the lower house and 550 members to the seven provincial assemblies…reports Asian Lite News

People across Nepal went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new 275-seat House of Representatives of the federal parliament and seven provincial assemblies.

About 17.988 million voters are eligible to elect 275 members to the lower house and 550 members to the seven provincial assemblies, reports Xinhua news agency.

Polling began at 7 a.m. and will end at 5 p.m.

“The voting has commenced peacefully across the nation,” Surya Aryal, deputy spokesperson for the Election Commission, told Xinhua.

“We expect the voting to continue smoothly the whole day,” he added.

Nepal has adopted a mixed electoral system, in which 60 per cent of the representatives to the lower house and the provincial assemblies are elected through the fast-past-the-post voting system, while the remaining 40 per cent are filled through the proportional representation system.

As many as 2,412 candidates are in the race for the 165 seats in the lower house under first-past-the-post, and 2,199 for the 110 seats under the proportional representation system.

Similarly, 3,224 candidates are competing for 330 seats to seven provincial assemblies under first-past-the-post, and 3,708 for the 220 seats under the proportional representation system.

The Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) from the ruling alliance have formed a five-party electoral alliance for the elections, while the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), the largest opposition, has also joined hands with others for some seats.

Altogether 7,219 observers are monitoring the elections.

Home Secretary Binod Singh said that all required security arrangements are in place to ensure free, fair and transparent elections and urged the voters to cast their ballots without any fear and intimidation.

Around 300,000 security personnel including those from the Nepal Army, Armed Police Force, National Intelligence Department and temporary police have been deployed across the Himalayan nation, according to the Home Ministry.

It is expected that results under the FPTS system will be announce within a few days, while vote count of proportional representation is expected to take some time, according to the Election Commission.

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