Previously, local representatives would be elected unopposed and there would be no need for voting. But this time, we elected our representatives through formal voting.
-- Triple P Gurung, district leader of the main opposition CPN-UML
POKHARA, May 17: Breaking with the tradition of electing their local representatives unopposed, voters in Manang district decided to go for a vote this time.
Although multiple candidates usually competed during the previous elections, Manang had always elected leaders unopposed. “Previously, local representatives would be elected unopposed and there would be no need for voting. But this time, we elected our representatives through formal voting,” said Triple P Gurung, district leader of the main opposition CPN-UML.
This has shown that locals in the district are becoming more aware about politics. “This is because of increasing activities carried out by the political parties in the district,” added Gurung.
As the district could not agree on consensus representatives, they decided to go for voting. “This experience made the historic moment even more historic,” he further added.
There are four rural municipalities in the district. Nepali Congress (NC) and UML have secured two rural municipalities each in this election. While UML candidates have won the position of rural municipality chairmen in Chame and Nesyang, NC has claimed victories in Nasong and Nar-Phu. However, NC victory in Nar-Phu is unopposed.
Manang is one of the most remote mountain districts and sparsely populated so activities of political parties is very limited. According to locals, it takes hours or even a day to travel from one village to another.
“Many parties would find it difficult to find local candidates for elections in the district. Previously, it had resulted in no choice but to elect representatives through consensus,” Gurung said.
Election Officer Udir Nepali confirmed that this is the first time the district elected local representatives through voting. “This is the first time the locals of the district got the opportunity to cast vote in the local elections.”