Civil society leaders stress safekeeping of ballot papers

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 20, 2017-Former chief election commissioners and civil society leaders on Sunday urged the Election Commission (EC) to pay special attention to the security of ballot papers with cast votes after the conclusion of the first phase of federal and provincial elections. The elections will be held over two phases on November 26 and December 7.

The EC has decided to count votes of both phases together after the second round of elections are completed in a bid to prevent results of the first phase of vote from influencing the second phase of elections.  

During an interaction organised by the EC on Sunday, civil society leaders drew attention towards a possible dispute that could arise if it fails to ensure credible environment of ballot paper security. 

“I asked the EC to keep the ballot papers with cast votes under joint security arrangement of security personnel and the representatives of political parties,” said former chief election commissioner Nil Kantha Upreti. “Any political party or candidate should not point finger at the credibility of ballot paper security.”

Participants also raised concerns over recent attacks on candidates in different parts of the country despite the government’s continued assurance for credible security. 

Senior Nepali Congress leaders Ram Chandra Poudel and Ram Sharan Mahat, 

CPN (UML) leader Sher Dhan Rai and CPN (Maoist Centre) leaders Narayan Kaji 

Shrestha, Barsaman Pun and Janardan Sharma have been targeted in the recent days.

Surya Prasad Shrestha, another former chief election commissioner, insisted on the need for better intelligence gathering to strengthen security for the candidates. The civil society leaders were of the view that the government should ensure an environment that allows the voters to participate in the elections without fear. 

Speaking on the occasion, former EC chief Bhojraj Pokharel said all sides have responsibility to make the elections a success although the EC has the task of managing them. 

During the interaction, the civil society leaders asked the EC to exercise its 

authority effectively to ensure that the election code of conduct is followed properly, while calling for voter education programme and necessary arrangements for the counting of the votes. 

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav assured that the EC would take the suggestions from the civil society leaders seriously.

Published: 20-11-2017 10:46

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