EC preparing for two-phase provincial, parliamentary polls

Kathmandu, August 29

Although the government has decided to hold both provincial and parliamentary polls simultaneously on November 26, the Election Commission has been preparing to hold the two elections in two phases.

The poll panel stated that due to managerial, as well as technical obstacles, both elections were unlikely to be held simultaneously on November 26 across the country.

“We have been preparing to hold provincial and parliamentary elections simultaneously but in two phases,” Election Commissioner Ila Sharma told The Himalayan Times. She said the EC had already started preparation to hold elections in two phases.

According to her, the first phase of elections will be held on November 26 but the date of the second phase of elections is yet to be finalised. She said the EC had been mulling over two dates — December 7 and 12 — for the second phase of elections.

Earlier, the EC had proposed to hold both elections simultaneously but in two phases — on November 20 and on December 7 during a meeting involving the government, the three major parties -- the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre — and EC office bearers.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav had  proposed to hold the first round of provincial and parliamentary elections in 31 remote hilly and mountainous districts on November 20, stating that polls would not be possible after that due to the cold spell of winter. He had proposed to hold the second round of provincial and parliamentary elections in the remaining districts on December 7.

However, leaders of the three major parties have been adamant on holding both elections simultaneously on a single day throughout the country. As per their suggestion, the government announced it would hold both elections together on November 26.

EC officials have pointed out technical, as well as managerial hurdles in holding both elections simultaneously across the country on November 26.

The EC has been saying that Janak Education Material Centre, from where the election body prints ballot papers, does not have the capacity to print the required number of ballot papers to hold elections at one go.

The EC has also drawn the government’s attention to the need to pass poll related bills from the Parliament and provide it with the report of the Constituency Delimitation Commission immediately.