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67pc voter turnout in second phase elections

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KATHMANDU — The Election Commission (EC) has said that voter turnout at 67 per cent in the second phase of parliamentary and provincial election held in 45 districts on Thursday.

In a press meet organised to thank the voters and to announce the success of the elections, Chief Election Commissioner Dr Ayodhi Prasad Yadav said that the voting process went smoothly except for minor disruptions.

According to the EC, Gulmi district recorded the highest 71 per cent voter turnout.

CEC Yadav said the polls were largely peaceful and voter turnout was higher than in the first phase. Yadav informed that the poll was conducted peacefully in all district, except for two polling centers in Arghakhaachi. Voting at the two polling centers at Mathura Secondary School at Neta in Sandhikharka-5 was canceled after parties disputed the authenticity of ballot papers.

Voter turnout in first phase parliamentary and provincial elections was recorded at 65 percent. However, voter turnout is less compared to other recent elections. The voter turnout in the recently concluded local elections was 74.16 percent and 79 percent in the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections.

First phase elections were held in 32 districts on November 26.

The completion of the second phase of elections will make way for a federal parliament at the center and provincial assemblies in seven provinces as envisioned by the new constitution adopted in 2015.

“The EC believes this election has contributed to implementing the constitution and ending the transition in the real sense,” CEC Yadav said.

According to the election body, a total of 5,293 candidates are competing under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system while as many as 6,094 candidates are contesting under the proportional (PR) category.

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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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