Nepali voters will head to polling stations across their northern Himalayan districts next Sunday in the first phase of general elections, taking a significant step forward in establishing a federal democracy in the country. The polls will take place under a new constitution passed by lawmakers in September 2015 as part of a peace process that began with the end of a decade-long civil war in 2006. The war pitted the Maoists against the state and left more than 16,000 people dead. After Maoist rebels gave up their arms, they joined the parliamentary system, resulting in Nepal shifting from a monarchy to a secular federal republic.
In 2015, the country enacted a constitution seeking to empower marginalised communities, including women and Dalits – the so-called untouchables – by ensuring greater representation in state institutions.
The polls are a major step toward implementing the new constitution.
“The election is key to taking Nepal out of the long-going transitional phase and to enter yet another significant chapter of state restructuring as per the new constitution,” Bishnu Sapkota, a political commentator, said.
Full Article: Nepal gears up for elections amid fears of violence.