Ambiguity over presidential poll date

Kathmandu, February 16

Lack of clear provision in the constitution is causing confusion regarding presidential polls.

It is not clear whether the presidential election should be held within a month of the Election Commission announcing the final result of the parliamentary elections or the first meeting of the Parliament.

EC Commissioner Narendra Dahal said the Parliament was formed after the poll panel announced the final result of parliamentary elections and submitted it to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. “The Parliament has already been formed and the prime minister was appointed after its formation,” said Dahal, adding, “Had there been no Parliament,   KP Sharma Oli would not have been appointed the prime minister.”

Dahal said although there were varied opinions on when the presidential election should be held, the EC was clear about the issue.

According to the Election (president and vice-president) Act, the Election Commission shall fix the date of presidential election within a month of the formation of the federal parliament and provincial assemblies and inform the government about it.

He said the poll panel was clear about the constitutional provision and had started its preparations to hold presidential election.

Dahal said the EC would announce dates to elect the president and the vice-president after consulting the government.

EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal said the constitution had authorised the poll panel to announce the date of presidential poll.

Yesterday the EC had proposed to hold poll to elect the president on March 5 and vice-president on March 17.

He said the EC would have to appoint returning officers, publish voter list, set the date for filing nominations, give time to candidates to withdraw their candidacies if they so wished, correct the names of candidates and accept complaints against candidates.

“We’ll consult the government before announcing the dates,” said Dhakal. He added that the EC had already consulted representatives of five national parties and they were positive towards its proposal.