Local elections in Provinces 1, 5, 7 today

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Jun 28, 2017-

The Election Commission (EC) has called on all the voters in Provinces 1, 5 and 7 to actively participate in the second phase of polls on Wednesday.

Acknowledging the compulsion to hold the polls in the middle of the monsoon season which spurs rice plantation in the country and keeps farmers busy, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav urged all to take the elections as a festival and exercise their franchise.

Local elections, being held in the country after a gap of two decades, are a precursor of provincial and federal polls which should be held by January next year as per the constitutional deadline.

The first phase of local polls was held on May 14 in Provinces 3, 4 and 6.

Though the local polls were earlier scheduled for two phases, the second phase had to be postponed twice—and a third phase had to be declared—in a bid to accommodate the dissenting parties which are boycotting Wednesday’s voting and have yet to commit to polls to be held in Province 2 on September 18.

A total of 15,038 posts for 334 local units are up for grabs in 35 districts, including parts of Nawalparasi and Rukum, of three provinces where the number of eligible voters is 6,432,765. 

A total of 8,364 polling centres have been designated for voting.

The poll body has said its major concern is weather. 

The Meteorological Forecasting Division (MDF) has forecast light to moderate rains in some districts on Wednesday. 

“Weather is our biggest worry for Wednesday’s vote as rains could make it difficult for people to participate in the elections,” said Election Commissioner Ila Sharma.

This is the first time that the country is holding elections in the monsoon season, which can have an impact on voter turnout. 

In the first phase polls, the voter turnout was estimated to be 74 percent. Voter turnout during the two Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 and 2013 was 59 and 78 percent, respectively.

In order to ensure maximum voter turnout, the EC has said voters can cast their ballots by showing voter identity cards issued for 2013 CA elections, citizenship certificate, passport, driving licence, land ownership certificate or any other identity card issued by the government agencies, provided that they have their names on the voter list. 

EC officials said extra efforts have been made to educate voters so as to reduce the number of invalid votes. In the first phase of polls, 11 percent of ballots were declared invalid, with Lalitpur topping the list with 17 percent void votes.

In view of recent incidents of blasts and clashes, the 

government has stepped up security in all the provinces and identified some polling stations as “sensitive”. 

CEC Yadav said on Tuesday that the poll body is confident that security agencies will fail all the attempts to deprive people of their right to vote. 

The poll body has also said that it will put strong measures in place to avoid a repetition of the Bharatpur vote counting fiasco.

Published: 28-06-2017 07:43

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