National

Janak Shiksha needs ‘45 days’ to print 34 million ballots

- Post Report, Kathmandu
There was concern if the JSSK will be able to print so many ballot papers as it had taken around 45 days to print 16 million ballots for the local polls

Sep 4, 2017-The Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra (JSSK), which is set to print ballot papers for the provincial and federal parliamentary elections, has said it can print around 34 million ballot papers in 45 days.

The Election Commission has made a 50-day schedule for printing the ballot papers for the polls scheduled to be held in two phases on November 26 and December 7, according to EC officials.

The election body had printed around 16 million ballots for the local elections. More than double the number of ballots will be required for the two crucial elections considering the understanding between the EC and the political parties to have two ballot papers--one for the first-past-the-post system and the other for proportional representation--for each voter.

An estimated 1.5 million new voters have been enrolled, on top of the 14,054,482 listed for the local polls. There was concern if the JSSK will be able to print so many ballot papers as it had taken around 45 days to print 16 million ballots for the local polls.

However, JSSK officials said they are able to print the required number of ballots in less number of days than the time allocated by the EC. 

“The ballot papers for the provincial and federal parliamentary elections are expected to be smaller than those used for the local polls. We can also use more machines since there is no rush to print textbooks like before the local polls,” said Mahesh Timilsina, the JSSK general manager.

The JSSK had used seven machines to print local poll ballots while it says it can now deploy all the 10 presses for the upcoming polls. 

Timilsina, however, said that the “45 days” was a tentative estimate which might vary once the EC provides the design of ballot papers.

The EC has been waiting for endorsement in Parlia-ment of bills on Election to House of Representative and the Election to Provincial Assemblies to finalise the design of ballot papers.

These bills have been stuck at the parliamentary State Affairs Committee as lawmakers debate whether to allow corruption convicts to contest the elections.

“Although there has been understanding to use two ballot papers for the elections, this needs to be translated into law,” said EC Spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal. 

“These two laws will also determine how to order the election symbols for political parties on the ballot papers.”

In order to spare enough time for printing ballot papers, the EC has decided to hold the elections in two phases. The government had announced on August 21 that the elections would be held in a single phase on November 26.

However, it decided on August 30 that the second phase of the elections would be conducted on December 7 as requested by the EC.

Published: 04-09-2017 08:07

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