District judge to be poll commissioner

  • Provisions on vote threshold and election symbols in the bill on political parties are contentious. The major parties want a threshold of votes to ensure a seat for a party in the Parliament but fringe parties have been opposing the provision

Kathmandu, January 31

A sub-committee of the State Affairs Committee of the Parliament today agreed on the recommendation made by the Judicial Council on a provision to make district judge a commissioner for civic elections. Earlier, chief district officers used to assume that task.

“We think that the provision will help us make elections fair and minimise ruling parties’ influence,” Tuladhar said. He added that gazetted officers of district courts would be supporting officers.

The parliamentary sub-committee also reached an agreement to hold the civic polls at least two months before its tenure ends.

The proposal in this regard was put forth by the CPN-UML, according  to UML lawmaker Gangala Tuladhar, who is a member of the sub-committee.

The sub-committee has already agreed to have at least one woman on the top two posts of civic bodies and to give berth to at least one Dalit woman on the two seats for women in wards.

The bill on civic polls will be tabled in the House tomorrow afternoon after it is passed by the SAC in the morning, Tuladhar added. The local election bill is the fourth election related bill considered vital for holding civic elections expected to be held by May-end.

The committee is yet to forge consensus on the much disputed issue of threshold on the bill relating to political parties. “The committee members of the major parties have discussed the issue with their respective chairs, but could not reach a conclusion,” he said.

Two provisions of the bill — vote threshold and election symbols — are being hotly debated.  The major parties are for having a threshold of votes to ensure a seat for a party in the Parliament but the fringe parties have been opposing any such provision in the bill. The major parties are for a threshold of three to five per cent votes.

“We are insisting on three per cent votes for proportional election or at least one seat in the first-past-the-post system of election as threshold,” Tuladhar added.

Another contentious issue is whether or not two or more parties should be allowed to contest polls having single election symbol.

“These two issues are so complicated that only top leaders can resolve them,” a source at the Parliament Secretariat told this daily. The source said the Parliament might not have any business in the next parliamentary meeting if these issues could not be settled by tomorrow before the parliamentary meeting.  Meanwhile, the SAC panel has agreed to have seven-day deadline for administering the oath of office and secrecy to the newly elected civic body leadership.