Law bars issuing poll symbols to parties outside House, says Yadav

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Apr 17, 2017-

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav made it clear on Sunday that the election body could not provide election symbols to the agitating 68 political parties outside Parliament due to the current legal provision.

The Local Level Election Act has made provision of providing single election symbol to the parties which are represented in the current Parliament. The 68 parties, including the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party, have been staging a sit-in since Saturday, demanding election symbols.

Yadav said at the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee that the election body could not provide single election symbol as the law bars it to provide single election symbol to parties outside Parliament. Over two dozen political parties are represented in Parliament. 

As per the law, candidates of the political parties not represented in Parliament can obtain election symbols as independent candidates. 

The restrictive provision for the parties not represented in Parliament was made after the EC said that it would not be possible to accommodate all the parties registered in the EC in a single ballot paper. Before the law was enacted, during the discussion at the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee, the EC had showed a model ballot paper consisting over 100 parties registered at the EC, stretching over four metres. 

Printing such a ballot paper within the country was impossible because the currently available press can only print ballot papers which are upto 96.52 centimeters in length, said the EC. So, the big parties went on to make the provision barring parties outside Parliament from getting a single election symbol. 

But the protesting parties outside Parliament are unconvinced with the EC’s argument. Naya Shakti Party leader Devendra Poudel said that that EC’s logic does not hold ground because not all the parties, which have registered with the EC for the local elections, have not been registered in each district.

As per the EC, Kathmandu district has the largest number of parties registred with 45, while their numbers are much lower in other districts. “The ballot papers could be printed based on the number of parties registered in each district,” said Poudel, adding that there is still room for change in the legal provision if the big parties want.

However, with the EC set to complete the printing of ballot papers on Sunday, chances of providing the agitating parties with single election symbols appear slim as long as the planned May 14 elections are not postponed. According to the EC, out of the required 16 million ballot papers, around 13 million ballot papers for 69 districts have been printed.    

 

Poudel suggests postponing polls

BAGLUNG: Nepali Congress  senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel has said that agitating Madhes-based parties should be brought on board for the local level elections even by postponing the polls for a few days. “Madhesi parties should be included in the local elections slated for May 14. Postponing the elections by five days won’t make any difference if that brings them [Madhesi parties] to the polls,” said Poudel during a press meet in Baglung on Sunday. The NC leader also asserted that the local elections should be conducted in single phase. (PR)

Published: 17-04-2017 07:41

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