Conditions must be met for local polls, says Election Commission

Kathmandu, May 9

Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said local elections were imperative but election related laws needed to be enacted and there must be political consensus before holding local polls.

Talking to The Himalayan Times about the government’s pledge to hold local polls in November/December, Sharma said the required technical and administrative infrastructure must be in place and the government must ensure that the election bill drafted by the EC is enacted before holding local polls.

“The EC must be convinced of peace and security in the country as we have a great legacy of violence-free elections,” she said.

Sharma said the EC drafted the Local Bodies Election Procedure Bill one-and-a-half year ago, where it also proposed 50 per cent women’s candidacy for political parties.

“So first of all the government has to present the draft bill at the House and get it passed,” she said and added that after the two Acts, Local Bodies Autonomy Act and Local Bodies Election Act  are in place, the government must forge political consensus, and approach the Election Commission for consultation.

Sharma said the EC will then hold meetings with stakeholders to be further assured a conducive environment for the election.

Once the required infrastructure is in place, the EC will then need to consider some technical factors, like the physical infrastructure, weather and other logistic factors Sharma said. “Then only can the EC and government agree to when the elections can be held,” she said.