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Nepal set to hold first local polls in 20 years

IANS  |  Kathmandu 

is set to hold its first local level polls in two decades on Sunday and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' appealed to eligible voters to partcipate in the and use their sovereign voting rights.

Calling out to "Nepali people to use their sovereign rights", the Prime Minister on Saturday said the elections can be looked upon as a milestone to end the unitary and centralised governing system and establish federal governance.

Local level elections in are happening after a politically unstable period of 20 years, the Kathmandu Post reported.

The last local representatives were elected in 1997 and their mandates lapsed after their five-year terms expired at the height of the brutal Maoist insurgency.

Elections held in 2005 under the direct rule of King Gyanendra were widely boycotted by major political parties.

Meanwhile, Chief Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav said all preparations for the in province 3, 4 and 6 have been completed.

Appealing to voters to vote "without any fear", Yadav said that the government has taken strict security measures for the polls.

He said that the Commission will take action against ministers if they have breached the code of conduct and are involved in campaigning during the silent period, the Himalayan Times reported.

"If you have found ministers involved in such activities, tell us their names objectively and action will be taken against them as per laws," the Chief Commissioner said.

Campaigning for the polls ended on May 11, with the initiation of a silent period wherein political parties and candidates cannot conduct any campaigns.

With security being steeped up in the capital city as well as other major parts of the country, Nepal's borders with neighbouring India and China have also been sealed for 96 hours, officials said.

Elections will be held in Provinces 3, 4 and 6 in the first phase on Sunday, while polls for provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7 will be held on June 14.

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 government tabled a new Constitution amendment bill in the Parliament to address the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties ahead of the local elections.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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