On September 18, 2017, Nepal held its third and final phase of local elections. Citizens enthusiastically voted to elect representatives to the 136 local units of Bara, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Parsa, Rautahat, Saptari, Sarlahi and Siraha districts of Province 2. Voter turnout was 77 percent. Polls happened after a number of districts in Province 2 had witnessed significant flooding in the month of August.
September 22, 2017
There were eleven election-related incidents recorded during the campaign period for the September 18 third phase of local elections that ran from September 6 to 15. This was the lowest number of incidents recorded during all three phases of elections, with 56 incidents recorded during the first phase campaign period, and 89 incidents recorded during the second phase campaign period.
There was a small increase in the number of election-related incidents during this reporting period. This increase can be attributed to parties beginning preparations for the third phase of local elections that are scheduled for September 18. Seven election-related incidents were recorded between August 3 and September 5.
August 13, 2017
On June 28, 2017 the Second Phase of local elections was held in Provinces 1, 5, and 7. Voters in newly formed local units turned out in impressive numbers to elect new representatives for the first time in nearly 20 years. Democracy Resource Center Nepal (DRCN) conducted observation of the elections in order to provide a critical, independent, and high-quality assessment of the electoral and political processes around the elections. This preliminary statement outlines findings and makes recommendations based on DRCN‟s observation before, during, and after the Second Phase elections.
July 14, 2017
Election-related incidents declined significantly during the vote counting period that followed the June 28 elections. There were 14 incidents recorded by Nepal Monitor between June 29 and July 11, as compared to 93 incidents during the campaign silence period and the election day, and 89 election-related incidents recorded during the campaign period between June 12 and 25.
On June 15, the Government of Nepal (GoN) announced that the second phase of local elections would be postponed in Province 2 until September 18, and that elections would go forward as scheduled for June 28 in Provinces 1, 5 and 7. The government said that the decision was taken following an understanding with Rashtriya Janta Party Nepal (RJPN) to allow more time to create an environment for RJPN to participate in elections in Province 2. RJPN, however, denied reaching such agreement and continued to call for elections to be postponed in all provinces. RJPN announced to boycott and disrupt elections across all provinces on June 28, reiterating they would not participate in elections without getting their demands addressed.
June 30, 2017
On June 28, 2017, more than 6.4 million voters were called upon to participate in the second phase of Nepal’s local polls, electing more than 15,000 local representatives in 334 local units across Provinces 1, 5, and 7. According to the Election Commission of Nepal voter turnout was 73.69 percent, similar to the May 14 first phase elections. Polling was postponed until September 18 in Province 2 after the government could not reach an agreement with agitating Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN).
As preparations resumed and campaigning intensified ahead of the second phase of local elections scheduled for June 28, provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7 saw a spike in election - related incidents. Nepal Monitor recorded 46 incidents in these provinces between May 22 and June 11, up from 19 during the period of May 12 to May 21.
This preliminary statement outlines findings from DRCN’s observation of the local political and elections-related dynamics before, during and after the first phase of local elections on May 14, 2017. DRCN will release its second preliminary report immediately after the completion of the second phase of elections, followed by a final comprehensive report.