Election campaigning ends for Nepal's local body polls
The campaigning for Nepal's first local body polls in two decades ended today with the authorities sealing the country's borders with India and China for 96 hours.
Kathmandu: The campaigning for Nepal's first local body polls in two decades ended today with the authorities sealing the country's borders with India and China for 96 hours.
The silent period for the much-delayed but crucial local-level elections begins from midnight, meaning political parties and candidates cannot conduct their election campaign during this period, officials said.
The government has stepped up security in the capital Kathmandu as well as in other major parts of the country where the elections are scheduled to take place on Sunday.
Nepal's borders with neighbouring India and China have also been sealed for 96 hours, officials said.
According to the local administration, the borders will remain shut until the election day.
Elections will be held in Provinces 3, 4 and 6 in the first phase while for provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7 - where the number of local levels will be altered - they will be held on June 14.
The country's Election Commission has recommended the government to fix the number of local units at 719. Till date, there are nearly 4,000 local bodies.
Local-level elections should be held in every five years in Nepal but due to political instability, they were halted since May 1997.
Elections held in 2005 under the direct rule of King Gyanendra were widely boycotted by major political parties.
Some Madhes-centric parties opposed the elections, demanding that the country's Constitution be amended to accommodate their views of more representation in Parliament and redrawing of provincial boundaries.
The Nepal government tabled a new Constitution amendment bill in the Parliament to address the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties ahead of the local elections.
Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, launched a prolonged agitation between September 2015 and February last year against the implementation of the new Constitution which they felt marginalised the Terai community.