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Voters in Nepal undeterred by election-related violence

Several injuries reported after a number of attacks linked to parliamentary and assembly elections in Nepal.

Millions of people in southern Nepal voted on Thursday in the final phase of elections for members of national and provincial assemblies.

The two-phase election is the first for the seven provincial assemblies established under the constitution adopted in 2015 after initial rejection from ethnic groups in southern Nepal. The assemblies will name the seven provinces formed under the constitution and draft provincial laws.

Several injuries have been reported after a number of attacks linked to the elections.

Thursday's voting involved about 12 million people in the southern half of the Himalayan nation, nearly 80 percent of the population.

The northern, mountainous region voted on November 26.

Vote tallying in the rest of the country is expected to start on Friday and take several days because some ballot boxes must be transported from remote villages to counting centres.

Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, Nepal's chief election commissioner, estimated voter turnout at 67 percent and said there were no major problems.

People holding voting cards began lining up before polling stations opened at 7am in the capital, Kathmandu.

Nepal's slow path to democracy began in 2006 when protesters forced the king to give up his rule.

Two years later, Nepal officially abolished the centuries-old monarchy and decided a federal system would best serve all areas of one of the poorest nations in the world.

But bickering among political parties delayed until 2015 the implementation of the new constitution, which declared Nepal a republic.

SOURCE: AP news agency


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