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65 percent voter turnout in first phase elections

The vote counting of the first phase elections would start after the completion of the second phase elections on December 7

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KATHMANDU — The Election Commission (EC) has said the voter turnout at 65 per cent in the first phase of of Representatives and State Assemblies election held in 32 mountainous and hilly districts on Sunday. The voting began at 7 am and ended officially at 5 pm.

Addressing a press meet after the elections, in Kathmandu on Sunday, the Chief Election Commissioner Dr Ayodhee Prasad Yadav informed that Bajura topped with more than 80 percent voter turnout, where Manang district recorded the lowest turnout.

Voters, however, seemed less enthusiastic to vote this election as compared to the previous local elections. The voter turnout in the local election was recorded 74.16 percent while the voter turnout in the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections was 79 percent.

However, elections were conducted peacefully except at two polling centers in Rukum. Despite minor incident in Rukum district, CEC Yadav said the elections were held in a peaceful manner in other polling stations.

The voting process was affected when an unknown person poured acid in a ballot box at Ratna Higher Secondary School of Bafikot Rural Municipalityin Rukum and a similar incident happened at Rastriya Higher Secondary School, Gattasaina of Aathbiskot.

The Election Commission have decided to hold re-elections of those polling centres in Rukum district after the incident. The re-elections of the Ratna Lower Secondary School voting centre at Bafikot Rural Municipality-5 and at the Gattasaina voting center at Aathbiskot Municipality-12 in Rukum west would be held on December 7.

Likewise, some Nepali Congress cadres attempted to capture booths in Jharlang of Dhading. The voting, which was halted for few hours, resumed after the local authorities deployed security personnel including the army to the disputed area.

Some minor clashes also took place in Dolakha, Ramechhap, Bajura, Bajhang, Kalikot and Dhading, however, thses didn’t affect the elections.

The election body has also informed that preparation are underway to bringing ballot boxes at the district headquarters from all the polling centers.

The first phase of election held at 4465 polling stations in 32 districts on Sunday would elect 37 parliamentarian members and 74 members to the State Assemblies.

The EC has clarified that the vote counting of the first phase elections would start after the completion of the second phase elections on December 7.

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Demand for legalizing same-sex marriage

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KATHMANDU- Stakeholders concerned have demanded a law related to same-sex marriage in the context when the Nepal’s constitution and laws have accepted the concept of marital equality.

At an interaction program held with media about the issue of gender identity and sexual orientation by an organization named Yubalaya here Sunday, the demand came as a prompt need of the time by the people concerned.

The complaint of homosexuals was that they were deprived of marriage by choice in the absence of the legalization of same-sex marriage which according to them is the deprivation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

Blue Diamond Society Program Officer Anuj Peter said though the constitution has promised to make special provisions for protection, empowerment or development of gender and sexual minorities, such vows are yet to be executed in practice.

Peter, who identifies himself as a homosexual, shares that he has been legally denied to marry a man of his choice.

Yubalaya Chair Sabin Singh highlighted the need of support from media and civil society to address the issue of gender identity and sexual minorities regarding same-sex marriage law.

The participants of the program put their queries about marital equality, broader sexual education and safe abortion.

As told by the Society, to date, 30 countries across the world have legalized same-sex marriage and endorsed a law towards that end and the Netherlands was the first country to legalize it in the end of 2000.

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