RJP-N misses time to enlist for Phase I vote

  • New party only informs poll body about the merger of six Madhes-based parties to become RJP-N and demands ‘umbrella’ as its election symbol
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Apr 27, 2017-The newly formed Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP-N) will not be able to take part in the first phase of local elections as it failed to provide the names and signatures of party officials who are authorised to nominate their election candidates.

The government and the poll authority had decided to hold the elections in two phases in order to take the protesting Madhes-based parties on board.

Local Level Election Act-2017 requires the names and signatures of party officials who can submit official letters of candidate nomination to the Election Commission. Failing to do this, the EC does not recognise candidates as the party’s official nominees.

The EC on Tuesday provided a fresh two-day window for submitting the names and signatures to enlist any remaining party for participation in the first round of local level elections. The earlier deadline for registration was April 12.

Instead of following the process, the RJP-N sent a letter to the EC, informing it about the merger of six Madhes-based parties to become the RJP-N and demanding umbrella as the new party’s election symbol.

The EC on Monday clarified that it cannot provide an election symbol to the RJP-N citing that ballot papers have already been printed.

Election officials suggested that the RJP-N could participate in the process using the vote symbols assigned to its six constituents. The RJP-N could have used the option by choosing one of the six symbols.

“Without participating in the process, their nominees cannot be legally recognised as the party’s candidates,” said Surya Prasad Sharma, spokesperson for the EC.

Without the EC deciding to extend the deadline further for this process, it will be difficult for the RJP-N to field its candidates under the party.

Election Commissioner Ishwari Prasad Paudel said the EC is unlikely to extend the registration deadline for the first phase of elections.

RJP-N leaders were also not much concerned about missing the opportunity to contest the polls in the first phase as a new party.

“Since the constitution has not been amended as agreed, there is no environment for us to contest the first phase of elections,” said Rajendra Mahato, an RJP-N leader. He added that they could participate in the second phase of polls if their demands are addressed.

The local polls are being held in provinces 3, 4 and 6 on May 14 and in provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7 on June 14.

Among the 80 parties registered with the EC for polls, 16 have not followed the due process of listing their authorised representatives. Among the Madhes-based parties, the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal led by Upendra Yadav and the Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NLF) have submitted the names and signatures of party officials.

After the EC opened the fresh window on Tuesday, the SSFN and the Naya Shakti Nepal jointly applied for contesting the elections using a common symbol—“flame”.

The NLF, led by Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, completed the formalities by listing the officials of its provincial party organisations on Wednesday.

Published: 27-04-2017 07:40

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