Voters in Nepal are lining up to elect new MPs

Kathmandu – Voters in Nepal lined up on Sunday to elect the MPs in Nepal hopes that a new government will bring political stability and aid in the development of the Himalayan nation.

The main candidates in Sunday’s elections are Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s ruling Congress Party coalition and the Maoist Communist Party against the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist), led by former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli.

Security was tightened across the country as a separate communist group with a history of violence called for a boycott of the elections and threatened to disrupt the election.

Sunday was declared a national holiday and both private and public vehicles were banned from the roads.

In the main square in the heart of the capital, Kathmandu, voters were lining up to cast their ballots when the booths opened at 7am (0115 GMT).

“The new government should focus on development, it should be operational, it should be committed to developing the country, people-to-people contact,” said Ravi Shrestha, 65, a retired government official who was among the first to respond took part in the voting.

“We need young leaders. We’ve seen the work of the old generation, but now we need to see new people, new faces and new talent emerge, which is what people want,” Shrestha said.

Political instability has resulted in Nepal having had 13 different governments over the past 16 years. The frequent changes and bickering between the parties have been blamed for a slow economy. The Nepalese have changed little since then, with the same generation of leaders in power through their control of the main political parties.

Many voters say they are tired of the same leaders staying in power and not delivering on their promises to improve people’s lives while the country makes little progress.

“I’m here to make sure we choose good people who are capable of working for the country’s rise and who are not corrupt,” said 81-year-old businessman Manik Man Tamrakas.

Election results will likely take days, if not weeks, as some ballot boxes have to be transported from remote mountain villages. Once all the votes have been counted, the elected Members of Parliament elect a Prime Minister who must get the support of half of all Members.

The next government, likely a coalition, will face the challenges of maintaining a stable political administration, reviving the tourism industry and balancing ties between the giant nations – China and India – that neighbor the tiny country.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Voters in Nepal are lining up to elect new MPs

Sarah Y. Kim

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