EC undecided on FPTP ballot papers

Kathmandu, October 26

The Election Commission is scheduled to start printing ballot papers for the November 26 first-past-the-post polls tomorrow but it has not yet finalised whether or not to print separate ballot papers for provincial and parliamentary elections.

An informal meeting of four EC commissioners — Ila Sharma, Narendra Dahal, Ishwori Prasad Paudel and Sudhir Kumar Shah — held today dwelt on the Supreme Court order of yesterday, but failed to reach to any decision.

Yesterday, the SC had ordered the EC and the prime minister to furnish a reply within three days on the progress made regarding its previous order asking the poll panel to seriously consider printing separate FPTP ballot papers for provincial and parliamentary elections.

“We have not reached any decision on the types of ballot papers,” said EC Commissioner Ila Sharma. She said the EC had not yet received a copy of the SC order, as today was public holiday for Chhath.

According to Sharma, EC officials discussed the report furnished by the committee formed to study the possibility of printing separate ballot papers for provincial and parliamentary FPTP elections. The poll panel had formed a seven-member committee after the SC’s earlier order and tasked it with furnishing its report on the possibility. The committee has already submitted its report, concluding that separate FPTP ballot papers cannot be printed for provincial and parliamentary elections due to time constraint and other technical reasons.

Another EC Commissioner Sudhir Kumar Shah said the poll panel would hold a formal meeting to decide on the SC’s order after it got the copy of the order. He said the EC would respond to the SC’s order only after it got a copy. When asked if the EC would go ahead with printing of FPTP ballot papers tomorrow as scheduled, Commissioner Shah said the EC would continue its work as per the schedule.

“The SC has not yet given its final verdict. We’ll follow the SC’s final verdict,” said Shah.

EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal said the EC had planned to start printing FPTP ballot papers tomorrow, but the printing would start only after the EC took a final decision on whether or not to print separate ballot papers for provincial and parliamentary polls.