KATHMANDU, Nepal — Tens of thousands of people voted peacefully Monday in a previously troubled southern Nepal province where ethnic violence demanding constitution changes had led to dozens of deaths in recent years.
Police said there was no trouble during the voting in the No. 2 province, where security had been stepped up for the municipal and village council elections.
The Madhesi ethnic group wants their provinces to have more territory than was assigned under the constitution adopted in 2015.
The constitution divided Nepal in seven federal provinces that would have their own provincial assemblies. The names of these assemblies would be also decided by these assemblies elections for which is planned for November.
More than 50 people died in protest-related violence in 2015 and 2016. The protesters also blocked crossings at the border with India, resulting in severe shortages of fuel, medicine and supplies in Nepal.
Madhesi groups have vowed to continue their struggle for the constitutional demands but allowed the polls to be held.
“We will continue with our demand but have decided we will also take part in the elections so that we can voice our demands in political forums,” said Rajendra Mahato of the Rastriya Janata Party. The party had been threatening to disrupt the polls until recently when they too decided they would contest for the seats.