Kathmandu : Chinese President Xi Jinping has congratulated Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for holding the local elections, saying the process of electing people’s representatives from the people themselves was a good one.

Xi’s message was conveyed to Nepalese Home Minister Balkrihna Khand when Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi met him here on Wednesday.

Hou called on Minister Khand at the latter’s office in Singh Durbar Secretariat here, said Madhusudan Bhattarai, Press Coordinator, Home Ministry.

Hou appreciated the recently held local level polls in the country, which went about largely peacefully and with a voter turnout of over 65 per cent.

The initial trends suggest the five-party ruling coalition, led Nepali Congress, is set to sweep the elections.

Ambassador Hou conveyed Chinese President Xi’s message regarding the local level election.

Ambassador Hou said: “Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed that the process of electing people’s representatives from the people themselves was a good one and congratulated Prime Minister (Sher Bahadur) Deuba for accomplishing the task.” Xi is also General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).

Hou said she visited various voting stations and was happy to see the people’s participation in the election with enthusiasm.

Hou also thanked the Nepalese security forces for the “good” arrangements made by Nepal during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here in March this year.

“Home Minister Khand thanked the Chinese government and the people for their continued support for peace, stability, development and prosperity. He expressed confidence in the continuation of cooperation for peace, stability, development and prosperity in the days to come,” the spokesperson said.

During the meeting, Hou said preparations are on for a direct flight between Kathmandu and Kunming in southeast China from May 30.

Beijing has stepped up contact with Nepal in recent years.

China is wary of the US making forays into Nepal, where over the years it wielded influence among the influential Marxist parties.

Currently, the Nepali Congress is leading the ruling Coalition in Kathmandu which includes major Left parties – CPN-Maoist Centre CPN-Unified Socialist. China’s political influence as well as investments have grown in Nepal significantly, especially under the previous tenures of K P Sharma Oli.

Beijing has mostly remained silent in recent months after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba – an advocate of diplomatic balanced foreign policy with close ties with India – assumed power in Kathmandu last year.