Federal and Provincial Elections: EC’s plan to publish poll schedule put off

- Post Report, Kathmandu

The Election Commission (EC)’s plan to publish the full schedule for the first phase of federal and provincial elections on Saturday was put on hold following reservations from political parties. 

First phase of federal and provincial elections is scheduled for November 26. The second round will be held on December 7.

The EC on Saturday, however, asked parties to inform it by Tuesday about the places from where they are contesting the first phase of elections and submit the details. 
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday had called election officials, including Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, to inquire about the EC’s plan about publishing the full schedule for the first phase of elections.

Some Cabinet ministers, who were also present at Friday’s meeting, had expressed their reservations about the EC’s plan of seeking the closed list of candidates under the proportional representation (PR) system prior to filing nominations under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system. 

Since parties “want to strike a balance” while choosing candidates under the FPTP and PR, as those who are not fielded under the FPTP are often chosen under the PR, the EC’s plan to seek the closed list of PR candidates well in advance had not gone down well with them.

The ruling parties have been demanding that the EC should seek the list of FPTP and PR candidates together. 

“We had proposed that parties should submit the closed list of PR candidates first, but some parties had reservations about it,” Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said. “Submission of the closed list of PR candidates prior to FPTP nominations would have helped ease our preparation,” she added. 

The EC has said it will now hold consultation with all the political parties in a bid to forge consensus on the issue. 

“The parties will now just need to inform the EC about the places from where they are contesting in the elections,” said Nawaraj Dhakal, spokesperson for the EC. “This will help ease our preparations like designing and printing of ballot papers.” 

A total of 95 parties have been registered with the EC for the two major polls. Out of them, five parties have decided to contest elections under single election symbol. 

“Parties failing to submit the details within the given timeframe will not be allowed to participate in the polls,” reads a notice issued by the EC. The EC plans to prepare ballot papers for different provinces depending on the number of parties contesting in the elections. The number of parties may vary in different provinces, as some regional parties might not want to field their candidates in all the seven provinces.

Published: 2017-09-10 08:10:50