Nepal holds final phase of parliamentary elections
KATHMANDU, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The second and final phase of the parliamentary elections is being held in Nepal on Thursday, seen as a crucial step to implement the landmark new constitution promulgated in September 2015.
The one-day polling began at 7 a.m. (0115 GMT) and concludes at 5 p.m. (1115 GMT) on Thursday.
Over 12 million people are eligible to vote in the historic elections in 45 districts of the southern plains and low hill areas including Kathmandu, to elect 128 lawmakers.
In the first phase of elections on Nov. 26, 65 percent of over 3 million eligible voters cast votes to elect 37 lawmakers in 32 mountainous districts.
The 165 directly-elected lawmakers will enter Nepal's 275-member parliament, with the remaining 110 lawmakers to be selected later with proportion depending on the percentage of votes each political party wins.
Voters are also voting on the same day to elect 330 candidates to form provincial assemblies in seven provinces, while another 220 provincial lawmakers will be elected later.
The Nepalese army and police are guarding the polling centers while public and private vehicles were banned from the streets. Voters are seen walking to the polling centers in their respective localities on Thursday.
As many as 702 candidates are contesting in the two phased general elections. Vote counting is expected to begin from Thursday evening.
Many in Nepal have high hopes that their country would usher in political stability after holding these crucial elections as they are believed as important steps towards implementing the new constitution adopted by the Constituent Assembly for the first time in Nepal's history.
This is the first time Nepal is holding a parliamentary and provincial assembly elections after the South Asian Himalayan nation became a federal democratic republic in 2008 after overthrowing the 240-year Monarchy.[ Editor: meng ]