Nepal hopes first state elections will give people a voice

  • Niranjan Shrestha/Associated Press

    In this Nov. 18, 2017, photo, a Nepalese man holds a Nepali Congress party flag during a door to door election campaign in Kathmandu, Nepal.

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Eleven years after Nepal began its journey toward democracy, the nation’s people will finally get a say in running their local regions, giving voice to those who feel overlooked in a country with diverse ethnic groups and cultures.

But while many hope Nepal’s first state elections, which begin this weekend, will hasten regional development, others fear they’ll spark fresh violence. Two years ago, when the Himalayan nation adopted a new constitution that split it into seven states, dozens of people were killed in ethnic clashes over territory and rights.

Voters will choose lawmakers in each of the states. Those lawmakers will then be able to draft provincial laws and choose local leaders.

Residents of Nepal’s northern regions vote Sunday, and voters in the south on Dec. 7.

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