Election bodies demand autonomy

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Nov 30, 2014-

Election chiefs in South Asia have demanded the electoral bodies be allowed to manage financial and human resources and fix the date for periodic elections independently.

The chiefs and other members of the election bodies in the region had united under the banner of Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia on Sunday voiced concern over the absence of legal and constitutional provisions in empowering the election bodies with human resource and finance.

“We want common standards for all election management bodies in eight South Asian countries. The heads of state and government of the region would be asked for all kinds of independence, including finance and human resource,” said Nepal’s Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety, who chairs the regional forum.

Citing the lack of its own staffers, Uprety said election affairs are often affected when the government transfers trained officials without consulting the commission and does not allocate enough budget while formulating policy and programmes.

“The right to independently announce the poll date or fix periodic poll date in the constitution tops our demands,” said Uprety, referring to the commission’s failure to hold local elections for the last 12 years due to lack of consensus among parties.

The meeting has endorsed a resolution to conduct a South Asian-level survey on independence of election management bodies in the region. The election heads from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka endorsed Nepal’s proposal to establish South Asian Institute for Democracy and Electoral Studies in Kathmandu.'

Published: 01-12-2014 10:30

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