The people of Nepal have started to vote in constituent elections to decide the future of the country.
The first elections in a decade will choose the members of a constituent assembly to write Nepal’s third constitution following the failure of the last one and the political developments that followed.
Around a thousand foreign election monitors and nearly 100,000 Nepali civil society volunteers will monitor the polling to make sure that nothing goes amiss. Past elections have always seen localised violence, the hope is that this year the violence will not derail the polls.
Results predictions in the area Himalayan Learning works will probably be a mixture of the Congress Party (centre-right), Communist Party (centre-left), and the Maoists (left). However, unlike previous elections, the voting system will consist of 50% first-past-the-post and 50% proportional representation.
For organisations working for development and rights across the world this is a huge achievement for Nepal – proportional representation will mean that for the first time, major numbers of women, ethnic minorities, Madheshis, and Dalits (untouchables) will be selected to argue Nepal’s future.
Results are predicted to take up to 3 weeks as much of Nepal is many days walk from the nearest road and due to the more complicated voting method. For an excellent explanation of the build up to the elections, please watch Al Jazeera’s news broadcast.