Poll body seeks support from India and China

The Election Commission says it has sought support from the neighbouring countries to prevent a lengthy procurement procedure

Mar 5, 2017-The Election Commission (EC) has requested India and China to provide election materials for holding the local level elections scheduled on May 14.

With the elections just 71 days away, the election body said it had sought support from the neighbouring countries to prevent a lengthy procurement procedure. EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma said that the election body had written to concerned authorities in New Delhi and Beijing, requesting for election materials. They had provided such support for the previous constituent assembly (CA) elections.

According to EC officials, they have requested India to provide vehicles and ink to be used on the nail of voters after casting votes. It has sought 11 cars, 35 double cab pick-up vans, a mini bus, a micro bus, 30 motorcycles and seven scooters with the southern neighbour. In the last constituent assembly (CA) election in 2013, India had provided the election authority 48 vehicles (40 double cab Pick up, five  SUVs and five mini trucks) worth Rs 55 million.

China had helped the election body with stationary items, ballot papers and office materials worth Rs175 million ($1.63m) for the CA election in 2013. “Both the countries have responded positively to our request. We are hopeful of similar response from the neighbouring countries this around,” said an EC official.

The EC had also sought support from Japan and the United Nations Development Programme for ballot boxes. But, the election body has decided to purchase them after they expressed inability to make the ballot boxes 

available due to time constraints, according to the EC officials. The election body on March 1 issued a notice, inviting bids from interested suppliers to deliver ballot boxes made of plastic, and 900,000 green seals and 100,000 white seals. Although the government has allocated adequate budget for the procurement of the election materials for the local polls, officials say, the poll body is seeking support from other countries to involve them as stakeholders in Nepal’s electoral process.

As demanded by the election authority, the government has allocated Rs10.29 billion for the elections. The amount is more than double compared to Rs 4.26 billion that the EC had spent on logistics, training and human resource management in the CA election in 2013.

According to the EC, foreign assistance covered 17.9 percent and 18.2 percent of the total cost of the last two CA elections in 2013 and 2008 respectively. “The portion of foreign aid in total expenditure of EC in holding local polls will shrink substantially because we have not sought much support from donors this time,” said an EC official.

Published: 05-03-2017 08:09

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