EC seeks laws pronto for local polls in May

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
We have conveyed the message to political parties that January-end is the cut-off date if local level elections are to be held by mid-May Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, chief election commissioner

Jan 18, 2017-

The Election Commission (EC) has said all election-related laws must be in place by the end of this month if local level elections have to be conducted by mid-May. 

“We have already conveyed the message to political parties that January-end is the cut-off date on our part if local level elections are to be held by mid-May,” Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav told the Post. 

At least five election-related laws need to be formulated for holding three levels of polls—local, provincial and federal—by January 21, 2018 after which the term of the incumbent Parliament will end. 

To hold other two elections by the constitutional deadline, local level polls must be completed by the third week of May, the EC has said, adding that the local polls could be held in phases starting from the first week of May. 

Of the five bills tabled in Parliament, only the Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to Voters’ List has been finalised by a sub-committee under the State Affairs Committee of the Legislature-Parliament so far. 

The sub-committee is learnt to have been giving final touches to another bill—Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to Functions, Duties and Powers of Election Commission.

Other two bills—Bill on Local Level Election Procedure and Bill to Amend and Integrate Prevailing Laws on Election (Offence and Punishment)—are also at SAC since last week. 

Three bills—Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to Functions, Duties and Powers of Election Commission; Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to Voters’ List and Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to Political Parties—were sent to SAC in the third week of October.

They were  tabled in Parliament in the first week of October.

However, the bills failed to move forward for months following various reasons, including House obstruction by the CPN-UML-led opposition bloc which is protesting against a constitution amendment bill tabled by the government.

SAC in December had formed an 11-member sub-committee, chaired by Nepali Congress lawmaker Ananda Prasad Dhungana, to finalise the first three bills. 

According to Dhungana, the sub-committee on Monday finalised the Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to Voters’ List.

“Differences persist between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and the Election Commission regarding fixing the cut-off date for registration of new voters,” said Dhungana. “We have asked them to settle the issue themselves,” added Dhungana. 

Gopinath Mainali, secretary at the EC, said MoHA has proposed the cut-off date one month prior to the elections while the EC has called for fixing the date once dates for elections are announced. 

According to the EC, a cut-off date for voters’ registration must be set to avoid any complications. 

Lawmaker Dhungana said the sub-committee headed by him would try its best to finalise all three election-related bills by Sunday, the deadline set by SAC.

 

Published: 18-01-2017 08:10

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