To­wards democ­racy?

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

Elec­tions were held in Nepal for a new as­sem­bly to com­plete the long-de­layed con­sti­tu­tion. The voter turnout was re­port­edly high and vot­ing was largely peace­ful al­though three peo­ple were hurt in a bomb blast in Kathmandu. The elec­tion was the sec­ond since a 10-year Maoist re­volt ended in 2006. The pre­vi­ous as­sem­bly, elected in 2008 af­ter the over­throw of the monar­chy, failed in its task of com­ing up with a new con­sti­tu­tion.

An in­terim gov­ern­ment was formed ear­lier this year by Nepal's ma­jor par­ties. Led by the Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice, Khilraj Regmi, this in­terim gov­ern­ment over­saw the elec­tions. A group of op­po­si­tion par­ties, led by a Maoist fac­tion, boy­cotted the polling. It wanted a new gov­ern­ment with rep­re­sen­ta­tion from all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties to con­duct elec­tions at a later date.

More than 100 par­ties con­tested, in­clud­ing the three ma­jor ones, the Maoists, the Nepali Congress and the Uni­fied Marx­ist- Lenin­ist. Among the more than 16,000 can­di­dates, nearly 6,000 were women.

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