It was a landmark moment for Nepalese people, as they voted in the country’s first local elections in 20 years. This is being seen as a significant step for the country’s transition to democracy. People voted for candidates in 283 municipalities, spread across three provinces in Nepal. The voting began at 7:00 am local time. Around 70% of the eligible voters are less than 35 years of age, which implies that they are casting their votes for the first time to choose their local representatives. It may be recalled that the last local elections in Nepal was conducted in 1997. The chosen candidates’ term ended after five years, at a time when the Maoist insurgency was at its peak. Since then, the country has been trying to transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular federal republic.
The lack of political representation at the local level for 20 years has increased corruption in Nepal. This was evident when the country was unable to cope up with the devastation caused by the earthquake in 2015.
During the local elections today, long queues could be seen at various polling stations. In Nepal’s Capital Kathmandu, there were 878 candidates in fray, which forced the election authorities to create a special ballot paper that was one meter long.