Millions of Nepalese in the country’s capital Kathmandu and the southern plains are voting on Thursday in the second round of historic elections for national parliament and provincial assemblies under a new constitution passed two years ago.
The landmark polls end the country’s tumultuous transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular republic, after a 10-year Maoist insurgency that left more than 16,000 people dead.
Over 12.2 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots in over 10,000 polling centers spread across 45 districts. More than 50 parties have fielded thousands of candidates who are competing for a total of 275 seats in the new federal parliament.
Voters are also choosing 550 members of seven provincial assemblies across the country.
Voters dressed in warm clothes flocked to their nearest polling stations early Thursday, braving the morning chill in Kathmandu.
Netra Prasad Rijal, 37, a former migrant worker, voted in the neighborhood of Kapan on Kathmandu’s outskirts. He said he expected the elections to pave the way for a stable administration in Kathmandu.
“People have always suffered no matter who ruled the country. We had authoritarian rule; we faced the war. I hope there will be a stable government after the election so we don’t have to vote again before five years,” he said.