Nepal Set to Abolish 240-Year-Old Monarchy
Voters out in droves for first election in 9 years
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2008 8:52 AM CDT
Nepalese women queue up outside a polling station to cast their votes in Janakpur, Nepal, Thursday, April 10, 2008, for an assembly that will rewrite its constitution.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
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(Newser) – Voting is under way in Nepal's parliamentary elections, where citizens of the Himalayan nation are expected to endorse parties that will oust the 240-year-old monarchy, reports AFP. UN observers have commended a high turnout despite eight deaths in protests ahead of today's polling, the centerpiece of a peace deal between Maoist rebels and mainstream political parties.

No fewer than 54 political parties are contesting today's elections, but the large majority of them are republicans. The current king, who ascended the throne after the 2001 murder of his brother, is deeply unpopular in Nepal and expects to be deposed. Jimmy Carter, who is in Kathmandu as an election observer, called today's vote a "revolutionary election" that will "open up the political process to formerly marginalized people."