EC asks govt to announce date for elections pronto

Kathmandu, August 8

The Election Commission has started preliminary preparations for holding provincial and parliamentary elections simultaneously as proposed by the government.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had yesterday directed office bearers of the commission to start preparations for holding both the elections simultaneously without further delay.

Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal said the EC had assessed technical barriers and discussed need for election staffers, ballot boxes, ballot papers, security personnel and time to hold both the elections.

He, however, said the EC would start necessary preparations only after the government announced the date for elections.

“We are prepared to hold both the elections simultaneously as directed by the government or in two phases,” said Dahal

He said EC office bearers had requested Prime Minister Deuba to announce date for elections by August 17, pass election related bills from the Parliament and provide report of the Constituency Delimitation Commission as soon as possible during yesterday’s meeting.

Another Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said date for elections must be announced before August 17 if both the polls were to be held in third week of the November.

“Time is running out and we drew the prime minister’s attention towards the issue,” said Sharma, adding that it was a challenge to hold elections before winter as there is very little time left to make necessary preparations.

She said the EC did not have time and capacity to print ballot papers to hold both elections simultaneously as over 70 million ballot papers were needed.

As per the EC’s estimate, 30 million ballot papers would have to be printed to hold both the elections simultaneously using four ballot papers.

Even Janak Education Material Centre, where the polls pane prints ballot papers, does not have the capacity to print 70 million ballot papers to hold both the elections before winter, according to the EC.

As per the constitution, both provincial and parliamentary elections should be held before January 21 next year.