World

Millions in Nepal vote for provincial, national assemblies

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Millions of people in southern Nepal voted Thursday in the final phase of mostly peaceful 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.

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

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The northern region voted on Nov. 26, and counting in some of those areas began Thursday evening.

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Vote tallying in the rest of the country is expected to start Friday and take several days.

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.

ASSOCIATED PRESS