Voters brave threats to cast their ballot

December 8, 2017 03:00 AM Republica


KATHMANDU, Dec 8: The second phase of the parliamentary and provincial elections concluded successfully Thursday with millions of voters turning up to cast their ballots defying threats and intimidation from the poll-opposing forces. The Election Commission and other election observers including the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have said that the elections were held in a largely peaceful and enthusiastic manner across the country. 

A total of 4482 candidates are in the race for 128 parliamentary seats and 256 provincial assembly seats in 45 hill and tarai districts that went to polls Thursday. The first phase of election was held in 32 districts on November 26. 

Except for a few incidents of violence -- including clashes in Bhaktapur, Achham, Syangja, Bhaktapur, Sarlahi and Kathmandu between supporters of various parties -- the polling took place in very enthusiastic manner in the rest of the districts. 

Voting in some of the polling booths of the aforementioned districts was briefly disrupted due to clashes between supporters of the left alliance and thye Nepali Congress. Police said they had to open fire in Achham, Syangja and Bhaktapur to contain the crowds.
 
Organizing a press conference soon after the conclusion of the polls, the EC said that the voting occurred in a peaceful atmosphere despite attempts by the miscreant groups to intimidate the voters.

In a statement, NHRC said that miscreant groups had tried to disrupt the polls by placing improvised explosive devices in Dadeldhura, Nawalparasi, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Gulmi, Sunsari, Salyan, Syangja and Dhankuta districts with little success. The NHRC said it has not received any reports of casualties so far.
 
"In totality, the voting took place in an enthusiastic manner," NHRC said.
 
Security forces were kept on high alert in all districts in view of growing incidents of bomb attacks in the run up to the voting day. Normal vehicular movements were restricted throughout the day in order to ensure adequate security for the local elections. Security forces including Nepal Army personnel were seen patrolling the streets of the Valley throughout the day.

Hours before the conclusion of the polls, the Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand has taken the responsibility for the bomb attacks. More than 30 candidates including top leaders of major parties had become targets of the bomb attacks in the last three weeks. The party has said that the bombing would stop from 5 pm, Thursday. 

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