Kathmandu, January 18
The Election Commission said it had completed dispatching ballot papers to all the election offices across the country for the National Assembly elections slated for January 23.
Joint Secretary Raj Kumar Shrestha, EC spokesperson, informed that the ballot papers were dispatched after printing as per the NA elections schedule. The election offices in Biratnagar of Province 1, Janakpur of Province 2, Jawalakhel of Province 3, Pokhara of Gandaki Province, Ghorahi of Province 5, Birendranagar of Karnali Province and Silgadi of Sudurpaschim have received the required number of ballot papers.
“We have provided a total of 6,260 ballot papers to the election offices across the country,” Spokesperson Shrestha said. As many as 2,056 voters, including 550 from provincial assemblies and 1,506 from local levels, are eligible to cast their ballot in the elections.
The EC stated that voters would cast their ballots in the concerned polling centres from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on January 23.
As per the Election to the Members of the National Assembly Act-2017, it is required to hold elections of the Upper House 35 days before the tenure of one-third of the NA members expires. Nineteen NA seats will fall vacant on March 3. Of the 19 seats, one shall be appointed by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and the rest shall be elected on the basis of majority by an electoral college consisting of provincial assembly members and chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of local levels.
Of the 18 NA seats, seven women, two Dalits, one from minority and differently-abled groups and two from ‘others’ group will be elected by provincial assembly members and chairs and deputy chairs of local levels whose votes will carry different weightage.
Article 86 (3) of the constitution stipulates that the term of office of the members of the National Assembly shall be six years.
The term of office of one-third of the members of the NA shall expire every two years. Provided that, for the first time, after the commencement of this constitution, arrangements shall be made by drawing lots to retire one-third of the members on the expiry of two years, another one-third on the expiry of four years, and the final one-third on the expiry of six years.
Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Nepali Congress, Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Rastriya Janamorcha have already finalised their candidates for the elections.
Meanwhile, the EC, in association with Nepal Police and Armed Police Force, has made special security arrangements to hold the polls in a free and fair manner. The EC has appealed to all to comply with the election code of conduct issued and put in place by it.
A version of this article appears in print on January 19, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.