EC suggests govt to hold elections separately

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 23, 2017-A day after the government announced that both the provincial and federal parliamentary elections will be held together on November 26, the Election Commission (EC) has said the polls might have to be held in two phases.

The poll body on Tuesday suggested a tentative proposal of conducting these elections in the two phases—on November 20 and December 7. 

A meeting of the EC on Tuesday said the polls might have to be held in two phases considering complexities in election preparations and logistical management as well as possible inclement weather conditions. 

With only 96 days until the declared date, the EC appears to be more concerned about printing of the ballot papers on time to hold two elections simultaneously. 

Three major parties and the EC have agreed in principle to use two ballot papers for each voter—one for the first-past-the-post (FPTP) election system and another for the proportional election system. That means around 34 million ballot papers will be required for the two elections, according to the election body. 

Election officials said they were concerned whether the Janak Sikshya Samagri Kendra (JSSK) would be able to print the required ballot papers on time. The state-owned printing company had taken 45 days to print 16 million ballot papers for the two rounds of local elections.

Despite warning about the possible need for holding these elections in two phases, the EC said in a press statement that it was committed to hold the elections in free and fair manner on the set date. 

The election body also decided to request the government once again to avail two elections related laws—Act on Election of House of Representative and Act on Election of Provincial Assembly—at the earliest. The bills are currently pending at the State Affairs Committee of Parliament. 

The EC has also sought the report of Constituency Delimitation Commission (CDC) at the earliest. The CDC has to carve out 165 constituencies across the country by August 31.

A constitutional provision requires the country to hold all three tiers of elections—local, provincial and federal—by January 21 next year. The two elections will be key to ending the country’s long-drawn transition from the monarchy to the federal republic.

Published: 23-08-2017 07:42

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