Nepal votes in final phase of general elections

An election officer sets up a booth at a polling station a day ahead of the parliamentary and provincial elections in Kathmandu

Nepal is holding the final round of parliamentary and provincial elections on Thursday which marks the end of the marathon elections.

Global observers have appreciated Nepal for conducting transparent, free, fair and peaceful parliamentary and provincial elections.

Those who have names on the voter roll but have not been able to collect their voter IDs can cast their ballots by showing the IDs issued for local elections and Constituent Assembly polls or citizenship certificate, passport, driving licence, land ownership certificate or any other valid identity card with photo issued by government agencies, according to the Election Commission.

Thursday's voting involves about 12 million people in the southern half of the Himalayan nation, almost 80 per cent of the population.

According to Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhyee Prasad Yadav, 400 global observers and 45,000 national observers have been monitoring the elections.

The procedures to start the vote counting will start afterwards.

The EC has said it has made arrangements in such a way that it would complete counting of FPTP votes in four days and PR votes in eight days.

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As many as 7,752 polling centres were arranged for today's voting.

"Police personnel are committed to ensuring the security of candidates and voters so as to make the elections successful", Nepal Police spokesperson Manoj Neupane said.

"I am voting after many years because there is new hope in the country with the establishment of provinces", said Iswor Prasad Shrestha, 70, a businessman.

"The Nepal Police has deputed booth security squads, mobile teams and security personnel in plain clothes for the objective of election security", he added. Vehicles were banned from the streets and voters walked to polling stations in their neighbourhoods.

With the demands of disgruntled parties still to be addressed, the Madhesh-based parties gave a nod to the government and participated in the local polls of September.

In 2015, when Nepal adopted a new Constitution that split it into seven states, dozens of people were killed in ethnic clashes over territory and rights.

Soon after the constitution took force, protests by ethnic groups in southern Nepal turned violent and left some 50 people dead.

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