Discussion begins on voter list bill

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 9, 2017-

A sub-committee of the State Affairs Committee (SAC) started consultation with lawmakers who had registered amendment proposals on Sunday, a day after its deadline to conclude three election related bills by another 15 days.

Coordinator of the sub-committee Ananda Dhungana told the Post that they had started clause-wise discussion with the lawmakers who had registered amendment proposal on the bill related to voters’ list. “We will reach a conclusion on this bill through the next two meetings of the sub-committee,” he said. 

The sub-committee is expected to start discussion on Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to the Election Commission and finally on the Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Political Parties.

“We will make our utmost efforts to reach a conclusion on all these bills in less than 15 days,” said Dhungana.  

The SAC had formed the 11-member sub-committee on December 22 to settle the differences among lawmakers over the three bills pending at the committee since the third week of October.

Lawmakers are divided over vote threshold, state funding for political parties, strengthening the Election Commission, allowing the EC to fix the election date and the number of signatures required to register a political party. 

During the meeting on Sunday, the lawmakers explained the logic behind the amendment proposals they registered on Bill Related to Voters’ List. 

Lawmaker Rameshore Phuyal said the law must ensure that votes could be cast only by those who have acquired the voter’s identity card. In the past elections, such system was not properly implemented which could invite risk of frauds in voting.

Another lawmaker Pemba Lama called for a mobilisation of at least one-third women in election procedures demanded in the amendment proposal. She also demanded that migrant Nepali workers should also be allowed to cast vote in their host countries, especially in the Gulf countries and Malaysia where a large number of Nepalis 

are based.

The sub-committee is holding another meeting on Monday as some of the 

lawmakers, who had registered amendment proposals, could not attend the meeting on Sunday. 

Two more poll-related bills--Local Election Procedure Act and Election (Offence and Punishment) Act--were registered at the Parliament Secretariat in the second week of December. But they have not been moved forward for discussion due to the ongoing obstruction to Parliament by the opposition parties led by the CPN-UML. The 

five bills are essential for holding the local elections by April-May.

The SAC would send the bills for endorsement as soon as they reach a conclusion on each document, Dhungana said, adding, “For this, the parliamentary proceedings should move ahead first.” 

Published: 09-01-2017 07:52

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