Kathmandu, Apr 10: Polling to the historic Constituent Assembly (CA) election in Nepal has begun this morning, amidst tight security. The election is expected to be vote out the 240-year-old monarchy.
Polling centers across the country have opened from 7:00 a.m. allowing the 17.6 million registered voters to cast their ballot. The voters will cast two ballots each - one under First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) and another under Proportional Representation (PR) categories. The FPTP system will elect 240 members and the PR system will elect 335 members to the CA.
A total of 55 parties are taking part in the election, in which 3970 candidates, including 367 women and 3580 men are in the fray for FPTP election.
A total of 5701 candidates including one half of women, nearly two thousand Madhesis, over 600 Dalits, over 2000 Janajatis, and nearly 200 from backward regions and over 1700 from other groups are in the fray for PR election.
Three major parties, the Nepali Congress (NC), the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) are contesting the election.
Tight security arrangements have been made to avoid any kind of untoward incident during the polling.
The government has mobilised 45,000 armed police personnel, 48,000 general police and about 75,000 temporary police to maintain law and order and to hold the polls in a free and fair atmosphere.
There are about 100,000 national observers and about 800 international observers observing the polls in over 21,000 polling stations across the country.
The elections have been delayed twice, in part because of an armed ethnic uprising in Nepal"s southeastern plains.
The polling is being held two years after street protests forced King Gyanendra to cede power and brought the Maoists out of the jungle. Under a peace deal, the rebels agreed to sequester nearly 20,000 fighters and to lock up their weapons under United Nations supervision.