Legal hurdle remains in Nepalis voting from abroad

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 29, 2016-Nepalis living abroad may not be able to cast their vote for at least the next two planned elections—local and provincial—due to legal and infrastructure-related hurdles, the Election Commission has said.

Although political leaders have long promised voting right to the Nepali migrants, there is no law to work towards its realisation. An estimated three million Nepalis, mostly workers, live abroad. Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said it was almost impossible to ensure participation of Nepalis abroad in the upcoming local and provincial elections due to the lack of preparations. As provisioned by the new constitution, local, provincial and the federal parliament elections are to be held by January 21, 2018. The government aims to hold the local elections in the upcoming spring season.

Although the commission had proposed in the original bill special provisions for enlisting the Nepalis abroad for voting, the government has removed the provision in the bill registered in Parliament.

However, lawmakers including Prabhadevi Bajracharya, Pemba Lama, Narawadevi Pun Magar, Ganga Devi Dangi, Shanta Manavi, Teku Nepali, Sakuntala Rajbhandari, Ambika Khawas Rajbanshi and Ganesh Man Gurung have registered amendment proposals to the Bill on Voter List seeking the provision to guarantee the voting rights of Nepalis abroad.

According to an EC official, the election authority does not have the infrastructure necessary for making voting from abroad possible even as its officials visited a few countries in the past to study its feasibility.

Published: 29-11-2016 08:18

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