EC says better to hold polls in two phases

  • Cites logistics management and weather conditions among others
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
We will have a good window for printing and delivering ballot papers to the destinations if elections are held in two phases- Election Commissioner Ishwari Paudel

Aug 30, 2017-The Election Commission (EC) has once again proposed holding provincial and federal elections in two phases—on November 26 and December 7.

The government on August 21 had decided to hold the two elections on the same 

date—November 26. 

The EC’s concerns over holding both the polls on the same date emanate basically from logistics management. However, weather also must be taken into consideration, said EC officials. 

The country must hold both the polls by January 21, but voting in some mountain and Hill regions is not possible during extreme winter (late December to early January). 

“The government has already announced the date (November 26) for both the elections. So, we have sought to know about holding the polls in two 

phases—November 26 and December 7,” said Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav. “We have outlined our reasons why the polls need to be held in two phases.”

One of the reasons, according to the EC, is printing and delivery of ballot papers.

“We will have a good window for printing and delivering ballot papers if elections are held in two phases,” said Election Commissioner Ishwari Paudel.  

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 election system and another for the proportional election system. This means around 34 million ballot papers will be required. 

Election officials said they are concerned whether the Janak Siksha Samagri Kendra will be able to print all the ballot papers if elections are held on the announced date of November 26, for which only 89 days are left. The state-owned printing company had taken 45 days to print 16 million ballot papers for the two rounds of local elections. 

 If the elections are held in two phases, the EC wants to hold the first round in the mountains and Hills because of possible snowfall in these regions.

While deciding to hold the two polls on the same date (November 26), the government, however, had said it could consider holding the elections in two phases. 

“If the security committee headed by the home minister and the EC recommend elections in two phases, the Cabinet may consider that option,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education Gopal Man Shrestha said. 

According to EC officials, political parties could have decided to hold the two elections on the single date over concerns that results of one election could affect those of another. 

Nepal had held parliamentary elections in two phases on May 1 and May 17 in 1999 when the Maoist insurgency was at its peak. 

Although the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections were held in a single phase in 2008 and 2013, local elections are being held in three phases.

Before the government called two major elections for November 26, the EC had proposed November 20 and December 7 as the dates for the two polls. 

 

Lack of laws hampering preparations

KATHMANDU: Lack of laws has been hampering preparatory works for two major elections which the government has announced for November 26. The Bill on Election of House of Representatives and the Bill on Election of Provincial Assembly have been stuck at parliamentary State Affairs Committee for months, with more than 300 proposals filed by cross-party lawmakers seeking to amend some provisions. The Election Commission (EC) says it has already requested the government to bring the poll laws “at the earliest to ensure elections on time”.  The EC had earlier called on the government to provide it with the election laws by August 21, the day the government set the date for provincial and federal polls for November 26. 

Minister for Information and Communication Mohan Bahadur Basnet told representatives of the government media on Tuesday that the government “is preparing to table the two bills in Parliament soon”, stopping short of giving the exact date.  The delay has hampered our preparations, said a senior EC official. (PR)

Published: 30-08-2017 07:44

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