Prez, PM, CEC stress timely elections at Election Day function

KATHMANDU: President Bidya Devi Bhandari has said the Election Commission should be able to take the special responsibility of holding periodic elections on time.

Addressing the main function organised by the Election Commission to mark the first Election Day here on Saturday, the Head of the State stressed the need of making the election practices in Nepal in line with the world standards.

"The initiation of taking forward the democratic exercise was undertaken this very day 58 years back," she said, "The Commission should take up its constitutional responsibility efficiently. The elections should be made easier, clean and transparent."

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said elections are the means for institutionalising the federal democratic republic.

"There is no need to harbour doubt regarding the elections as the Election Commission has already been urged to prepare for holding the local elections by May 14 and the vacant posts of the three election commissioners have also been fulfilled. The 40 per cent women participation at the local level and 33 per cent participation at the federal and the province level elections should be ensured," the PM stated.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav said the Election Commission was burning the candle at both ends to conduct all the three levels of elections in the timeframe stipulated by the Constitution for the institutionalisation of democracy.

On the occasion, President Bhandari launched a book titled 'The Election History of Nepal' published by the Election Commission.

Former chief election commissioners Surendra Bahadur Basnet, Surya Prasad Shrestha, Keshav Raj Rajbhandari, Bhoj Raj Pokhrel and Neelkantha Uprety and former Acting Chief Election Commissioner Dolakh Bahadur Gurung were honoured on the occasion.

Similarly, also honoured on the occasion were the former election commissioners Narayan Prasad Rajbhandari, Ram Chandra Sharma Poudel, Birendra Prasad Mishra, Ramesh Jung Thapa, Bishwa Man Shrestha, Damaru Ballav Bhattarai, Jayaram Singh Bohara, Dil Bahadur Karki, Usha Nepal and Ram Bhakta PB Thakur.

Employees completing 20 years of service at the Commission were also presented with letters of appreciation.

The first parliamentary elections in Nepal were held on February 18, 1959.

Nine political parties had taken part in the elections. The Nepali Congress party had won 74 out of the total 109 election constituencies and the parliamentary party leader of the Nepali Congress, BP Koirala, had become the first elected Prime Minister of Nepal.

The EC has decided to celebrate the Phalgun 7 every year as the National Election Day in commemoration of the first general elections of the country.