Nepalese voted to elect an Assembly to write a new constitution

Bishnu Maya Gurung, 65, casts her vote at a polling station in Sainbu VDC, Lalipur.
Bishnu Maya Gurung, 65, casts her vote at a polling station in Sainbu VDC, Lalipur. Photo: Ajay Das

Voters say peace and development their primary concerns.

 

19, November 2013: On Tuesday voters in Nepal cast their ballot in another round of Constituent Assembly (CA) election in a bid to formulate a new constitution and form a stable government.

 

Resilient voters queued up outside polling stations from early morning in their thousands across the country despite boycott by a coalition of political parties and bombs scares.

 

Votes have been casted to elect a total of 585 members of the Constituent Assembly—240 in first-past-the-post category and 335 in proportional category. Complete results are expected within a week.

 

The new members of the Constituent Assembly will have to complete the task of writing a new constitution left unfinished by the previous Assembly and deliver on their development promises.

 

Renuka Giri of Thimi-16, Bhaktapur said she voted in the hope of getting a new constitution and to end the political turmoil that has inflicted the country for years. "We need to forgive the leaders for what they did in the past. But now we should remain vigilant as to what they will do after they secure their seat in the CA," said Giri.

 

The village of Bhramarpura in Mahottari saw a snaking line of women at the polling station as thousands of men are out in the Gulf countries earning a livelihood to support their families in Nepal.

 

Eighty year old Ranjani Devi Das of Bhramarpura said she cast her vote hoping that the new government will be able to find jobs to her twin granddaughters who have passed grade 12.

 

According to the initial estimates by the Election Commission of Nepal the voter turnout was 70 percent in Tuesday’s elections.

 

 “We had adopted all possible reforms including bio-metric voter registration and provision to produce voter ID before voting in the election free and fair," Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety told reporters.

 

UNDP through its Electoral Support Project (ESP) had provided strategic technical and operational assistance to the Election Commission in planning and conducting the election in inclusive and credible manner.  The European Union, DFID, Denmark and Norway have provided financial support to the project.

 

With technical assistance of UNDP, the Election Commission was successful in introducing modernized voter registration programme—complete with photographs and biometric profiling. In order to further strengthen the voting process and for easy identification of voters on the Election Day, the Commission distributed voters’ identification cards prior to elections.

 

UNDP had also helped the Election Commission in procuring many election logistics including ballot papers printing and bags for polling and returning officers among others.

 

An on-site technical advisory support at regional levels during elections also provided a round-clock advice before and during elections.