50,000 observers for local level elections

Kathmandu, April 29

The Election Commission has finalised over four dozen national organisations, which will mobilise around 50,000 observers in the upcoming local level elections slated for May 14 and June 14.

The Election Commission has allowed 49 Nepali organisations to mobilise their observer missions, which will be deploying 49,947 observers during the polls, according to Gopi Nath Mainali, secretary at the Election Commission.

As per the guideline prepared by the EC, these organisations need to deploy observers in all ecological zones — mountains, hills and the Tarai — as well as in all seven provinces. Each organisation needs to mobilise observers to at least 100 polling stations and come up with a report within a month of the elections.

Mainali told The Himalayan Times that a total of 66 national organisations had shown interest in mobilising observers in the local polls, but only 49 of them met the criteria set by the EC.

No foreign organisations were invited this time around to observe the local polls.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav, however, told foreign diplomats yesterday that Nepal-based foreign envoys and representatives of development partners, including the United Nations, would be allowed to observe the first phase of elections in Kathmandu Valley on May 14.

The election body was yet to decide whether or not to grant permission to foreign envoys and donors representatives for poll observation in the second phase of elections.

The 49 Nepali organisations allowed to observe the elections include dedicated polls observation agencies, NGOs, professional bodies as well as human rights organisations.

Mainali said these organisations were selected on the basis of their past experience and track records.

The National Election Observation Committee has proposed to deploy as many as 12,000 observers, while another election monitoring agency — General Election Observation Committee — said it would deploy 2,100 observers.

Likewise, News Club of Nepal has proposed to mobilise 4,200 people as polls observers while Nepal Bar Association said it would mobilise 2,500 poll observers. Sankalpa, an NGO working for the welfare of women — applied at the EC to mobilise a total of 1,000 women poll observers, including some physically challenged women.

To become polls observers, a male must have acquired at least plus 2 or intermediate level education while females only need to have formal education up to SLC.

“These organisations have  proposed to mobilise a total of 49,947 observers,” said an official at EC. “The EC will have an exact figure only when we receive the applications of observers for identity card.”

Meanwhile, Secretary Mainali said the National Human Rights Commission would separately monitor elections across the country. An MoU to this effect was signed between the EC and the NHRC this week.