New Delhi: Nepal, which went to polls amid economic and political instability, recorded a voter turnout of 61 per cent on Sunday, according to news agency PTI.
Other than a few sporadic incidents of violence and clashes that killed one person, the voting that began at 7 am, to elect a new House of Representatives and seven provincial assemblies, remained peaceful.
According to Shaligram Sharma Poudel, spokesperson of the Election Commission, barring a few incidents, voting took place smoothly across the country.
“The presence of voters was low at polling stations in the morning, perhaps due to cold weather. But now there is an enthusiastic participation of voters everywhere,” Poudel said.
Notably, Prime Minister and Nepali Congress (NC) president Sher Bahadur Deuba cast his vote at his home district Dadeldhura.
He voted at the Ashigram Secondary School polling centre at Ruwakhola in Ganyapdhura rural municipality-1 in the morning.
As per reports, some incidents of heated arguments between party cadres were reported from 11 areas in Dhangadi, Gorkha and Dolakha districts. However, it did not affect the polling.
A minor explosion also took place near Sharda Secondary School polling station in Dhangadhi Sub-metropolitan City in Kailali district. However, no casualty or damage to property was reported, officials said, adding voting continued in the polling station despite the incident with just half-an-hour interruption.
One person was shot dead at a polling station in Nateshwari Basic School of Tribeni Municipality in Bajura. The 24-year-old man was shot dead by the police after a dispute between two groups after the voting was over, as per reports.
Meanwhile, Nepal’s former prime minister KP Sharma Oli said that his CPN-UML-led alliance will secure a clear majority and form the next government by December 1.
“The UML will form a majority government, or at least a coalition government comprising parties that have forged an alliance with us in the elections,” he was quoted as saying by the Himalayan Times newspaper.
Of a total of 275 Members of Parliament, 165 will be elected through direct voting and the remaining 110 will be elected through a proportional electoral system. The voters will also choose representatives to seven provincial assemblies.
Of a total 550 members of the provincial assemblies, 330 will be elected directly and 220 will be elected through the proportional method.
Political experts predicted a hung parliament and a government that is unlikely to provide the required political stability in Nepal.
Political instability has been a recurrent feature of Nepal since the end of the decade-long Maoist insurgency, and no prime minister has served a full term after the civil war ended in 2006.
Speaking to the media after voting, Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya said the counting will start at 9 pm on Sunday.
(With inputs from Virendra KM)