Govt and EC at odds over ‘early’ election code

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 3, 2017-The Election Commission (EC)’s move of imposing election code of conduct for the federal and provincial polls has riled political parties, with some senior ministers also saying the poll code was enforced “too early”. 

Provincial and federal elections have been called for November 26 and December 7. The EC’s poll code of conduct came into force on Thursday. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Bijay Kumar Gachhadar said on Saturday that the EC had “tied the government’s hands” in the name of election code of conduct. 

“It’s not justifiable to impose the code of conduct for an election that is scheduled after three months,” Gachhadar said at a press meet in Rajbiraj. “The poll code of conduct has hugely affected the government’s day-to-day work.” Gachhadar said that a Cabinet meeting on Monday would hold discussions about requesting the EC to reconsider its poll code of conduct decision. 

The EC on the other hand has been consistently drawing the attention of the government, ministers, political parties and their leaders to the poll conduct, urging all to comply with it.

On Friday, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav asked chief election monitors to be vigilant about political parties’ activities, referring to the relief distribution by some political parties and leaders in the flood-hit Tarai districts. 

The EC has also taken exception to transfers of government officials, saying transfers are now allowed at a time when the poll code of conduct is in place. 

The government had recently transferred Shankar Adhikari to the EC without taking the poll body’s consent, much to the chagrin of the EC. 

Major political parties like the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have also expressed their unhappiness at the EC for imposing the poll code of conduct three months prior to the elections. 

But the EC argues that poll code must come into force immediately after election dates are announced. 

Expressing dissatisfaction at the EC’s move, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Bir Bahadur Balayar said on Saturday that the poll body imposed the poll code of conduct without consulting the government. 

“We should abide by the poll code of conduct, but people will suffer if the government’s day-to-day activities are affected due to this,” Balayar said in Doti on Saturday while talking to mediapersons.

Published: 03-09-2017 07:27

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