EC starts printing of FPTP ballot papers

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Oct 28, 2017-

The Election Commission (EC) started printing ballot papers for the upcoming federal and provincial elections for the first-past-the-post system on Friday. 

The Janak Sikshya Samagri Kendra (JSSK), the state-owned printing company, has started printing FPTP ballots from Friday, confirmed EC Spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal. Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav and Commissioners Narendra Dahal and Sudhir Shah had reached the JSSK premises on Friday evening to kickstart the ballot printing. 

According to the EC officials, single ballot papers for the FPTP system for both the elections are being printed.

On Wednesday’s Supreme Court (SC) order to print separate ballot papers for the two polls under the FPTP system and submit a report on progress to that effect since its October 18 ruling, the election officials said the poll body “is preparing to respond to the apex court mentioning that a single sheet contains two ballot papers”.

The EC officials said since the apex court has not specified in its ruling whether there have be two different sheets while printing separate ballot papers, they believe their response “would satisfy the SC”. 

The EC has designed the ballot papers under the FPTP system in such a way that it has kept election symbols for federal elections on the upper part of the sheet and those for provincial elections on the lower part. 

The election body has described the upper part as ‘Ballot Paper 1’ and lower part as ‘Ballot Paper 2.’  

“A total of 17.4 million ballot papers will be printed for the two phases of elections,” said Dhakal. 

The state-owned printing firm completed printing ballot papers for the proportional representation (PR) system on Friday itself. It had started printing PR ballot papers on October 3. 

On why the EC started printing the FPTP ballots without responding to the court, the officials said waiting for the final ruling could have hampered the poll cycle and other preparatory works. 

Before giving the green signal to the JSSK to print FPTP ballot papers, an EC meeting on Friday afternoon had decided to go ahead as per its earlier plan of printing the FPTP ballot papers for both the elections on a single sheet, according to Election Commissioner Sudhir Shah. 

Wednesday’s court ruling asking the EC to arrange separate ballot papers under the FPTP system for the federal and provincial elections had stoked concerns and created confusion whether it could affect the polls, especially the first phase scheduled for November 26. 

The court was responding to a contempt of court writ filed by Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leader Sarbendra Nath Shukla. 

After the court ruling, the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre), which have formed a left electoral alliance, organised a press conference on Thursday where they warned against any move to postpone the scheduled polls. 

 

 

 

Timeline

  • Oct 8: Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leader Sarbendra Nath Shukla moves the Supreme Court (SC) demanding an interim order to the EC to print separate ballot papers for federal and provincial polls under FPTP system
  • Oct 18: SC rules out interim order but says ‘the EC will seriously consider the matter of printing separate ballot papers for the FPTP system’
  • Oct 24: Shukla files contempt of court writ, saying the EC defied SC ruling of ‘seriously considering the matter of printing separate ballot papers’
  • Oct 25: SC rules separate FPTP ballot papers a must for the two elections, asks the poll body to respond in three days
  • Oct 26: Left alliance of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) say they smell ‘foul play’; warn against any move to defer polls
  • Oct 27: EC starts printing FPTP ballots as per its earlier plan; says will respond to SC in such a way that it will satisfy the SC

Published: 28-10-2017 07:39

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