Kathmandu, February 23
The Election Commission has said its priority is to use national resources for the upcoming local level polls, instead of seeking grants from donors for election materials.
The constitutional body also said it preferred to procure or import election materials in case they couldn’t be managed in the country.
During a meeting with ambassadors and representative of all Kathmandu-based foreign diplomatic missions and donor agencies, EC officials informed them about the commission’s overall preparations, including election schedules published by the EC — for the May 14 poll.
The EC official refrained from seeking any assistance from them, but urged the envoys and donors to facilitate timely clearance of election related materials that the country will procure from other countries.
“We had called the meeting to update the diplomatic community about the polls and their overall preparations,” Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav told The Himalayan Times. “We didn’t seek any support for election-materials. If we need any help, we will request them later.”
Secretary at the Election Commission Gopi Nath Mainali told this daily that the EC will try to mobilise whatever resources and materials the country has and will procure or import only those goods that can’t be arranged at home.
He said the state should not depend on foreign grant for some of its core-functions such as conducting civic polls. The cabinet decided to allot approximately 10.30 billion rupees to the EC to hold local level elections announced for May 14.
According to Mainali, the EC sought moral support from the diplomatic community and donors for the polls and asked them to fully respect the election code of conduct in the run-up to and during elections.
The foreign envoys and donors wanted to know if the elections would be held in free and fair manner as parts of the country were grappling with political turmoil. The envoys also sought to know if they needed to extend any support for the polls, including deployment of international election observers.
Secretary Mainali said EC officials made it clear that foreign election observers might not be required as elections were being held at the local level.
The EC has decided to print ballot papers at state-run Janak Shiksha Samagri Kendra and to bring ballot boxes, which are insufficient, from abroad, instead of seeking help from donors.
Earlier, the EC had consulted with the Japanese and Chinese envoys if they could extend support or supply election materials as they had extended help in the last polls. An official at the EC, however, told this daily that the EC would receive support from those countries which had extended support during the last CA elections.
During the last CA elections, Japan had provided morethan 50,000 ballot boxes, of which seven to 10 percent are now estimated to be damaged and need to be changed, according to Surya Prasad Aryal, information officer at the EC.
Likewise, India had extended indelible ink or electoral ink and stamp pads and China had provided as many as 16 types of stationary goods.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae today separately met with the Election Commissioners, including EC Chief Yadav and assured that India would provide ‘logistical support’ for the polls if the Nepali side asked, according to Chief Election Commissioner Yadav.
A version of this article appears in print on February 24, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.