Asia

Nepalese get 1st chance in 20 years to vote for local bodies

Nepalese will get their first chance in two decades to vote in local representatives on city and village councils in elections analysts say offer a signal that the Himalayan nation's fractious democracy may be stabilizing.

Since the last local polls were held in 1997, Nepal's 240-year monarchy was abolished, federal democracy introduced and a Maoist insurgency left thousands dead.

A quarter of the 29 million people live in poverty and less than 4 percent of houses destroyed in the 2015 earthquake have been rebuilt. Through it all, Nepalese have had only government-appointed bureaucrats because of a political deadlock that had delayed passage of a new constitution, which was adopted only two years ago.