Inmates can vote under PR system for CA polls

Kathmandu, October 3:

The Election Commission has allowed prisoners to cast votes only under the proportional representation system during the Constituent Assembly (CA) election. However, they cannot vote in the election to be held under the first past-post system.

Bishnu Prasad Bhusal, Kathmandu District Election Officer, told this daily that prisoners would be allowed to vote only in proportional representation system, in which prisoners are permitted to vote for a political party, but not for individual representatives of political parties.

As all the prisoners are not jailed near their permanent residence, it is not possible to let them choose their respective candidates of their area, he said. “They have the right to vote for their favourite candidates, but they will not be permitted to go to their constituencies to cast their votes,” he said citing security and other management problems. “The detainees will be allowed to vote in the poll from the premises of the prison.”

He further said prisoners would be able to vote for their candidates from their own constituencies, if they are released before the CA polls.

According to him, there are advanced systems in the other countries; so they have the provision of postal voting system. Due to lack of technological sophistication, they will be able to vote for the parties during the CA polls.

In 1994, the election commission prohibited the prisoners from casting votes, while prisoners were allowed to vote from the jail premises in 1991. There are altogether 6,713 prisoners, including detainees, in 73 prisons of 71 districts.