No measures to reduce invalid votes: Observers

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 26, 2017-

Pointing to a large number of invalid votes during the first phase of local level elections, three organisations have alleged that the Election Commission has failed to introduce adequate measures for decreasing the invalid ballot percentage in the second phase.

Publishing their review of the May 14 vote on the eve of the second-phase of polling, the General Election Observers Organisation (GEOC), the National Election Observer Organisation (NEOC) and the Inclusive Women Alliance for Peace, Justice and Democracy (Sankalp) jointly said the EC mobilised more resources for voter education but the campaign failed to reach people in remote villages and settlements and first-time voters.

Following the results of first-phase vote, the EC had committed to improving 

people’s access to voter education and to minimising technical problems for the June 28 poll. 

The organisations say, the poll authority has not honoured its commitment. In many places, many volunteers mobilised by the EC failed to show voters how to stamp the ballot correctly, the three organisations said in their joint statement.

As numbers of invalid votes were higher in urban areas, there was a need 

to intensify the campaign in urban areas, they observed. But there were no properly managed and urban-focused campaigns.

The organisations claimed that the election code of conduct was not properly enforced in the second phase while the parties’ campaigns were not orderly. 

They also objected to the use of children by the parties in poll publicity.

Most of the candidates breached the expenditure ceiling and used vehicles, distributed T-shirts and organised parties, the statement claimed. 

“We have received reports that such candidates are found to be spending more than Rs 70,000 per day.”

GEOC Chairman Himalaya Shumsher Rana, NEOC Chair Surya Prasad Shrestha and Lily Thapa of Sankalpa said in the statement that they would jointly observe the upcoming vote in provinces 1, 5 and 7.

Published: 26-06-2017 07:51

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