Nepal | July 14, 2020

Debate on external voting rages on

Ram Kumar Kamat
Share Now:

Kathmandu, July 22

The Supreme Court has ordered the government to enact new laws to ensure out-of-country voting from the next election, but the Election Commission is not sure whether that is feasible.

The Election Commission is preparing to finalise its external voting feasibility reports this week.   Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal is leading an EC steering committee to finalise the technical report submitted by EC Joint Secretary Girija Sharma-led panel on the feasibility of external voting. He said there were many questions that committee members would have to answer before recommending that the government enact laws to ensure external voting.

Dahal said the task force led by Sharma observed in its report that the percentage of voter-turnout in the countries allowing external voting was very low. “Online voting seems feasible given the requirement of spending huge management costs, but I am not sure how Nepali voters, particularly migrant workers, and political parties in the country will react,” he said.

He added that large number of migrant workers who were not proficient in using internet might not benefit from online system and political parties might also not okay it fearing its misuse.

Dahal said his committee might advise the government to carry out external voting as a pilot project to know its efficacy and feasibility.

“If we allow Nepalis living abroad to cast their votes in Nepali missions abroad, we do not know what the turnout will be because Nepalis live in different cities and not only in the capitals of foreign countries,” Dahal said. He said if the country decided to ensure external voting, it would also have to ensure the same provision for lakhs of Nepalis living in Indian cities.

“Ensuring external voting would depend on political parties’ consensus and the country’s willingness to spend huge amount that may be required to conduct out-of-country voting,” he said.

EC Joint Secretary Sharma said ensuring external voting could require huge amount. “If the government sends employees to foreign countries to update electoral rolls and conduct elections, then that will entail huge resources,” Sharma said. He added, “Ensuring external voting depends on the government’s willingness to spend huge resources.”

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dhanraj Gyawali

said the ministry respected the SC’s verdict that ordered the government to ensure external voting, but the ministry could prepare the draft of a new bill only when it received report from the EC on what should be the system and process for ensuring external voting.

Nepali Congress Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said his party favoured voting right for Nepalis living abroad in line with the SC order. “Nepali nationals living abroad will feel emotional attachment with the country only when they can take part

in elections,” Sharma said. He added that the country would benefit immensely from Nepalis living abroad if external voting was allowed.

According to Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, external voting

is allowed by 115 countries and territories in the world.

A version of this article appears in print on July 23, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Manchester United, Marcus Rashford, Premier League

United stay fifth after Saints grab last-gasp leveller

MANCHESTER: Manchester United's Champions League qualification hopes suffered a blow after an equaliser deep in stoppage time from Michael Obafemi earned Southampton a 2-2 draw in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Monday. United, unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions, were poised to m Read More...

Capital budget spending at two-decade low of 40 per cent

KATHMANDU, JULY 13 With just two days remaining for the 2019-20 fiscal year to end, capital budget expenditure throughout the year stands at one of the worst ever at 39.62 per cent. Officials at the Ministry of Finance said capital expenditure during the current fiscal year, which was primaril Read More...

Mayur company resumes bus service in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, July 13 Mayur Yatayat Company resumed its bus services from today in Kathmandu valley amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision of Mayur Yatayat has come as a relief to commuters at a time when other public transportation entrepreneurs were refusing to operate their services citing f Read More...

‘Press freedom should involve accountability’

Kathmandu, July 13 Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada said the CIT Ministry ought to start digitisation first, by utilising the advancement of information technology. As the government has adopted a digital framework, we should become paperless in our activ Read More...

Absconding murder suspect held after 13 years

Kathmandu, July 13 Police have nabbed one of the two prime murder suspects of the much-hyped Sitapaila murder case that had happened 13 years ago. Two workers at a saw mill had allegedly killed its owner, his wife and inflicted serious injuries to their 15-year-old son on the night of 2 Januar Read More...

US debates school reopening, WHO warns 'no return to normal'

MIAMI: The resurgence of the coronavirus in the United States ignited fierce debate Monday about whether to reopen schools, as global health officials warned that the pandemic will intensify unless more countries adopt comprehensive plans to combat it. “If the basics aren’t followed, there is Read More...


COVID-19 control, disaster management top priorities

Kathmandu, July 13 Tokha Municipality in Kathmandu has set priorities for containment of COVID-19 crisis and disaster management in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The municipality that is located in the northern belt of Kathmandu unveiled a budget for Rs 1.58 billion for the fiscal y Read More...

US budget deficit hits all-time high of $864 billion in June

WASHINGTON: The federal government incurred the biggest monthly budget deficit in history in June as spending on programs to combat the coronavirus recession exploded while millions of job losses cut into tax revenues. The Treasury Department reported Monday that the deficit hit $864 billion last Read More...