EC needs Rs 10.3 billion for civic elections

Kathmandu, February 19

The Election Commission has estimated that a budget of Rs 10.3 billion will be required to hold civic polls.

The commission, which has started preparing for the polls, said the amount would be needed for logistics, awareness campaign, procurement of electoral materials, managing human resources and for trainings.

The EC instructed its departments and units to work out estimates of the budget for civic polls after the government asked it to prepare for the polls a few days ago.

“We have estimated that more than Rs 10.3 billion will be needed for civic polls,” EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma told The Himalayan Times. He added that the Election Commission had not estimated the cost for security during elections for that did not fall under its jurisdiction.

According to Sharma, the commission will write a formal letter to the government seeking the required budget in a day or two.  He said the commission would not be in a position to carry out further work without the budget.

Earlier, the EC had reminded that the budget, announcement of poll dates and acceptance of the LBRC report by the government were pre-requisites for poll   preparations.

Sharma said the commission would hire human resources and buy materials only after the government announced the civic election dates.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today held discussion with EC office bearers regarding announcement of civic poll dates.

When asked if the PM wanted to delay announcement of poll dates,  Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said the PM wanted to announce the poll dates tomorrow, but wanted to overcome challenges related to it. “We discussed poll related issues,” Sharma added.

Sharma said the EC would hold a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss poll related issues before the government announced poll dates. She, however, refused to divulge other details of talks held with the prime minister.

The Prime Minister’s Secretariat issued a press release saying that the PM told  the EC commissioners and chief Election Commissioner  that the government was in the final phase of announcing poll dates and they should prepare to hold polls by mid-May.

In response, the EC office bearers told the PM that the commission was capable of holding polls on the date decided by the government.