EC to open bureaus for chief returning officer, RO

Kathmandu, August 31:

The Election Commission (EC) will open the offices of the Chief Returning Officers (CROs) and Returning Officers (ROs) by the last week of September in order to pave the way for a smooth conduct of Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.

The offices of the CRO and ROs will assist the political parties, which are required to begin registering nomination-papers of their candidates contesting under the First Past The Post System (FPTP), from October 5.

“For instance, Kathmandu district has 10 constituencies, and at least one CRO and nine ROs will take up the job,” Dhruva Dhakal, an official at the EC, told this daily.

CROs and ROs will be appointed elsewhere according to the number of electoral constituencies.

District judges will be appointed CROs while other officials from the judicial service will be appointed ROs. The CROs and ROs will be trained a week before their offices open.

According to Dhakal, the EC has given priority to voters’ education. At least 8,400 primary school teachers — equal number of male and female teachers — have been appointed volunteers for educating voters in villages.

These volunteers, who will be trained at the district headquarters in the first week of September, will be mobilised in village development committees (VDCs) after September 18. “The volunteers will go to each house to educate voters on the CA election, the electoral system under the FPTP and proportional representation. The volunteers will also hand over an invitation to the head of each family to cast vote on November 22,” added Dhakal.

Besides educating the voters on two types of ballot papers, the volunteers will also

educate them on ballot boxes with separate stickers for the election to be held under FPTP and proportional representation systems.

The EC has already printed voters’ education materials, including posters, pamphlets and flip charts, in 16 national languages.

“The voters’ education materials have already been dispatched to some districts while in other districts they are in the process of being dispatched,” said EC officials.

As the elections get closer, the EC is planning to monitor media reports (both electronic and print) related to the polls. The EC is also planning to establish a Media Centre and the office to facilitate election observers.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet is yet to approve the renewed report of the Election Constituencies Delimitation Commission.