All set for polls

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Voters will, for the first time under the new constitution, instate elected representatives in village and municipal councils which will have more powers and budget

May 14, 2017-All poll-related preparations have been completed and credible security arrangement is in place, the Election Commission said on Saturday, on the eve of the first phase of local level elections, calling on all to exercise their right to franchise freely and without any fear. “Election is the backbone of democracy. People can realise the importance of democracy through election. Election encourages elected representatives to be accountable to the people,” said Chief Election Commission Ayodhee Prasad Yadav at a press meet organised to disseminate information about Sunday’s vote. “The EC is confident that people will cast their secret ballots freely and without coming under the influence of any intimidation, temptation or threat.”

Credible security arrangement has been put in place, said Yadav, dispelling concerns about some activities by the cadres of the CPN led by Netra Bikram Chand. 

“A few incidents by Chand’s party should not deter anyone from participating in the elections,” he said. 

“Some incidents had taken place during the Constituent Assembly elections in 2013 and 2008, but they didn’t stop the elections.” 

Voting will take place from 7am to 5pm on Sunday in 34 districts of three provinces—3, 4 and 6—to elect 13,556 representatives in 283 local units. The local level elections, first after 20 years and since the promulgation of the constitution, are finally taking place on Sunday for which extensive negotiations at the political level had taken place, especially in view of the agitating Madhes-based parties’ calls for statute revision before polls. 

A revised constitution bill tabled in Parliament led to a deal on holding the local polls in two phases, with the second one slated for June 14 after the completion of the first phase on May 14. 

With a view to ensuring participation of maximum number of voters, the EC has also decided to allow people to vote with any valid ID cards issued by the government in case they do not have voter ID cards. Those without voter ID cards, however, must have their names on voter list to cast their ballot.

People on Sunday will vote to elect mayors and deputy mayors, village chiefs and deputy chiefs and ward chairpersons and ward members. 

“This election will be important for women and Dalits because the Local Level Election Act has made it mandatory for the political parties to pick 50 percent women candidates for the post of either chief or deputy chief of local units,” said Yadav. 

At ward level, 40 percent representation of women including that of Dalit women is guaranteed after the elections. There are a total of 49,337 candidates and 39 percent of them are women. 

“This election will boost women’s confidence and self-respect,” said Yadav. 

One of the most important aspects of the local level elections is this will rid the grassroots corruption that is deeply entrenched at the local level. 

Voters will, for the first time under the new constitution, instate elected representatives in village and municipal councils which will have more powers and more budget than the village development councils and district development committees.

Published: 14-05-2017 07:46

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