Associated Press

It’s a big day in Nepal where Nepalese are voting for the first time in 20 years  in local election.

Nepal have had only government-appointed bureaucrats to look to for answers or help with settling local disputes. Many voters said they were excited for the chance this weekend to choose local representatives for the first time since 1997.

Polling stations in three provinces opened at 7 a.m. local time (0115 UTC). Nearly 50,000 candidates are standing for 13,556 positions as mayor, deputy mayor, ward chairman and ward member in 283 local municipalities.

The election is to take place in two phases owing to fears of election-related violence in four remaining southern provinces, with the second poll scheduled for June 14.

Since 2002, when the five-year mandate of the previous elected government representatives expired, local positions have been occupied by government-appointed bureaucrats, as elections could not be held amid a 10-year communist insurgency that ended in 2006, which was followed by years of delay in drafting a new constitution.

The government has pledge to vote on an amendment to the constitution after the election on Sunday, but the fragile ruling coalition is having difficulty bringing together a sufficient majority to get the bill passed.

The first phase of voting has so far been mostly peaceful, though an army ordnance disposal team safely detonated two explosive devices planted opposite a candidate’s house in the capital, Kathmandu.

Like it? Share with your friends!