‘Parties flouting poll code of conduct’

Kathmandu, December 1

As the second phase of provincial and parliamentary elections draws closer, parties continue their campaigns aggressively ‘making impossible promises and throwing feasts’, poll observer organisations said.

Prominent domestic poll observation organisations — National Election Observation Committee, General Election Observation Committee and Sankalpa — said political parties, candidates, and even the government were violating the code of conduct enforced by the Election Commission.

NEOC General Secretary Gopal Krishna Siwakoti said none of the stakeholders were abiding by the election code of conduct. “The code of conduct is being blatantly violated by all stakeholders,” said Siwakoti. He said some parties and candidates even printed invitation cards to invite voters to their feasts.

“We witnessed the trend during the local level elections. The same trend continues in first and second phase of provincial and parliamentary elections,” added Siwakoti. He said parties and candidates were making false and impossible promises to woo voters.

The poll observation organisations said that the government too violated the election code of conduct by making political appointments, and transferring and promoting civil servants and security personnel. They also accused the government of distributing huge sums of money from the state coffers to workers of the ruling parties to influence elections.

Siwakoti said the EC was unable to strictly enforce the election code of conduct. He said the parties and candidates did not follow the poll expenditure ceiling fixed by the election body, which had made the elections a costly affair. The EC had fixed maximum expenditure of Rs 2.5 million for parliamentary FPTP elections and Rs 1.5 million for provincial FPTP elections.

NEOC said it had deployed 1,039 trained observers to all 37 constituencies of 32 districts in the first phase. It also mobilised mobile observer teams in sensitive areas, apart from sending a team of distinguished observers to sensitive polling centres.

GEOC mobilised 200 trained observers in eight districts during the first phase of provincial and parliamentary elections. It also mobilised mobile observer teams, including expert observers, in various districts.