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Nepal seeks unity from its first local elections in 20 years

Crucial ethnic group belatedly joins vote, apparently spurred by India

Voters wait for over an hour in Biratnagar to cast their ballots in Nepal's first local election since 1997. (Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

BIRATNAGAR, Nepal Nearly 200 men and women stood in line outside a high school in the eastern city of Biratnagar at 6:50 a.m. on June 28, waiting for the start of voting in Nepal's first local elections since 1997.

"I have wanted to choose local leaders for the past 20 years," said 75-year-old Ramlakhan Mandal, who cast the first ballot after having waited since 5 a.m.

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