EC revises Province 2 voter turnout to 77 pcThe Election Commission (EC) said on Tuesday that voter turnout in the last leg of local elections in Province 2 held on Monday was 77 percent, up from its earlier estimates of 73 percent and the highest among all the three phases of polls.
The Election Commission (EC) said on Tuesday that voter turnout in the last leg of local elections in Province 2 held on Monday was 77 percent, up from its earlier estimates of 73 percent and the highest among all the three phases of polls.
Voter turnout in the first phase of local polls on May 14 was 74 percent while it was 76 percent in the second phase on June 28. The second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013 had 77.57 percent voter turnout.
“The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N)’s decision to participate in the elections helped create a positive political environment for elections in Province 2, which resulted in higher voter turnout,” said former election commissioner Dolakh Bahadur Gurung.
Voting concluded in all eight districts of the previously troubled Province 2, where local elections had to be delayed in a bid to address the concerns of the RJP-N, a unified force of six Madhes-based parties, which was pressing an amendment to the constitution.
Province 2 had become the hotbed of protests immediately after the promulgation of the constitution in September 2015, with the Madhes-based parties objecting to some provisions of the charter, saying it marginalised some sections of the society. More than 50 people were killed in the months-long protests.
After the Madhes-based parties’ continuous insistence, a constitution amendment bill was tabled in Parliament, but it failed on August 21 after the governing parties failed to secure a two-thirds majority. The RJP-N, however, decided to join the polls, which many believe was largely helpful in creating a trouble-free environment for voting.
Besides that, Gurung said, people who were facing difficulties in accessing state services due to lack of local governments were also keen to participate in the polls which were being held after a gap of two decades. “The local elections came as a big opportunity for them,” Gurung added.
Experts said enthusiastic participation of people in May 14 and June 28 elections also encouraged Province 2 people to take part in the polls.
Elected representatives had already started working in six other provinces after the two rounds of elections.
People of Province 2, who were hard hit by flooding and inundation in mid-August, also must have felt how lack of local representatives can affect relief works in the aftermath of a disaster, said an expert.