EC helpless against poll code violators: Observers

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu
Lack of effective voter education programme is another concern raised by election observers

Nov 25, 2017-Election observers have raised concern over government and political parties violating the election code of conduct and the helplessness of the Electon Commission to keep them in check.

The EC officials have become helpless while implementing the election code of conduct which could compromise electoral independence, said the observers from National Election Observation Committee (NEOC), General Election Observation Committee (GEOC) and Inclusive Women Network for Peace, Justice and Democracy (Sankalp).  

NEOC Vice Chairman Kapil Shrestha said the EC should exercise its power following the declaration of the election date, but the government has been violating the code of conduct without fear for consequences.

“The government itself was seen in the forefront of violating the code of conduct. Appointments, transfers and promotions were rampant during this period. The Election Commission appears helpless,” he said.

The three polls observation organisations have pointed out a series of election code violations from the government, including cabinet expansion, transfer and promotion of officials and fund distribution to the voters. They said that owing to the direct pressure and influence from the government, the EC’s activities could not be seen as fully independent.

NEOC General Secretary Gopal Krishna Shiwakoti said the EC failed to take stand against government’s rampant violations of election code. 

“The Election Commission appeared helpless in front of the government that have made widespread appointments, transfers and promotions in the run-up to the elections,” he said. “This raises question mark about the autonomy and independence of the Election Commission which could not affirm its positions on technical and policy matters.” 

Another concern raised by the poll observers was lack of effective voter education programme. 

They said many voters, particularly in remote areas, were unversed in voting procedure for the upcoming elections, despite the EC mobilising additional resources and people for voter education.   

“Most voters are still in confusion due to the lack of proper voter education,” said GEOC Chairman Himalaya Shumsher Rana.

Published: 25-11-2017 08:00

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