KATHMANDU: Nepal's second phase polls, which commenced in three provinces covering much of the volatile southern plains, witnessed 70.5 percent voter turnout, the country's Election Commission has said.
In a press briefing called at the Election Commission premises on late Wednesday evening, Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal Dr. Ayodhi Prasad Yadav announced turnout of more than 70 percent.
“According to the preliminary collection of data, at least 70.5 percent votes have been cast. The commission expects this number can rise further. Amongst the 35 districts which went for polls, Bajura has the highest voter turnout - 80 percent and the least is of Bhojpur with 61 percent voter turnout,” Yadav said.
The first phase of local polls that was held after a gap of about two decades witnessed the highest turnout of 73 percent. Held on May 14, 2017, the first local elections covered 34 districts of the three provinces.
The Election Commission is now in the process of collecting all ballot boxes to start the vote counting.
"All the ballot boxes are being collected in the Chief Electoral Officer and the Election Officer’s Office,” Yadav added.
The second phase polls of Nepal was executed in a peaceful manner with minor reports of clashes between the cadres of the political parties.
The Election Commission of Nepal had set up 8,364 polling stations around the three provinces, which widely covered the restive southern plains.
After the conclusion of the two phased local elections, the Election Commission of Nepal now has the biggest challenge ahead - of holding the final round of local elections, slated for September 28 in Province no. 2.
Province No. 2 is the homeland of the Rashtriya Janata Party - Nepal (RJP-N) which is leading the protest against the Constitution promulgated in the September of 2015.
Though the RJP-N had earlier denounced the second phase elections, it did cover some parts of the Terai region and later protested and called for a shut down in Province no. 2.
Some of the political pundits in Kathmandu and from the Terai region have termed the denouncement of the local polls by the RJP-N as a great mistake, claiming they would lose their ground to the political parties, which have dominated the Nepal politics for long.