Kathmandu, Apr 8 : With campaigning for the crucial April 10 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections ending yesterday, the stage is all set for one of the most important polls in the history of Nepal.
The outcome of this election would be very vital, as the new constituent assembly would be empowered to abolish monarchy in the country. An agreement to this effect was reached on December 23, 2007.
The Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) are the main contenders in the election.
All precautions have been taken to ensure that the elections are peaceful. The Indo-Nepal border was sealed on Tuesday, and would remained sealed for three days. Only "limited human movements" will be allowed, said officials. Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged political leaders of Nepal to ensure that the Constituent Assembly elections are "free, fair and credible," which would set a "historic milestone" in the peace process. Concern was expressed yesterday by the head of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Ian Martin, that Maoists could disrupt the appropriate results. Reacting to the statement , CPN-M chairman Prachanda said that the 'cantoned combatants' would not carry out any activities breaching the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The then government and the Maoists had signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on November 21, 2006, formally ending the decade-long armed Maoist insurgency.
Many international observers are present in the country to oversee the elections.
Former president of the United States Jimmy Carter's mission, which includes over 60 observers from 20 countries are deployed throughout Nepal to monitor elections.
Carter, who is himself in Nepal, has said that everyone should accept the outcome of the Constituent Assembly polls. He said that an environment to ensure participation of maximum number of people in the polls should be created.
Around 120 observers of the European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission (EOM) are in Nepal to take stock of the electioneering process.
A total of 80 Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) observers have also arrived in Nepal to monitor the polls.
The Election Commission of Nepal has set up 20,888 polling centers across the country in which around 17.6 million voters could cast their vote. The commission would be deploying 234,000 polling staff on the day of polling.
For the first time in Nepal, electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be used in Kathmandu 1 constituency. India has donated the EVMs on a trial basis. The result of Kathmandu-1 is expected to be announced on the same day of voting.