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All eyes on today’s SC ruling on ballot papers

  • Writ by RJP-N leader demands separate ballots for two elections
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 18, 2017-Hours after announcing that it would leave the government, the CPN (Maoist Centre) on Tuesday changed its mind, saying it had dropped the plan “for now”. Home Minister Janardan Sharma at a hastily called press conference in the afternoon said: “Our party chairman has received information from the Election Commission (EC) about plans to postpone the polls so we are not pulling out of the government.”

But the EC refuted Sharma’s claim, saying there were no plans to defer the polls and that it was working with its plan to hold them on the announced dates of November 26 and December 7.What could have set off the chain of events then?Multiple sources pointed to a writ filed on October 8 at the Supreme Court by Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leader Sarbendra Nath Shukla demanding separate ballot papers for federal and provincial polls.

The EC has been preparing for the two polls with two sets of ballot papers—one for the first-past-the-post system and another for the proportional representation system.The SC heard the case on Tuesday and is expected to pass its judgment on Wednesday. “The EC is all set to hold the elections on the set deadline,” said Election Commissioner Sudhir Shah, adding that the poll cycle could be changed only if the SC passes a decision in line with the writ filed by the RJP-N leader.

If the SC orders the EC to print separate ballot papers for provincial and federal polls, the election cycle will be affected, as it will take at least 45 days to print them. A senior Nepali Congress leader refuted the Maoist Centre’s claim of plans to defer the polls as “rumours”. “Is the Supreme Court the prime minister’s office?” said NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi when asked whether talks about poll postponement were stemming from the writ filed at the apex court. 

Published: 18-10-2017 08:20

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