EC should be vested with authority to announce election dates: Sharma
The Election Commission’s efforts to bring new reforms in election laws are driven by its quest to rid politics of corruption as that is at the root of all problems
Kathmandu, September 3
Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said the Election Commission and not the government should have the authority to announce election date.
Talking to THT about the EC’s poll preparations, Sharma said the election body should have the authority to announce election dates to ensure periodicity and predictability of elections.
“If the government waits for all the parties to agree on an election date that may not happen. In India too, it is the president who declares the election date on the recommendation of the Election Commission,” she added.
Sharma said the EC would be able to hold local elections in four months provided the government ensured that new election related bills were enacted into laws.
The EC, she added, needs time to hold polls because the election body needs to adopt more than 60 directives and some by-laws.
“The government must also ensure that public procurement laws do not apply, otherwise, we will not be able to hold elections even in six months,” she added. Sharma said the EC would need the report of Local Bodies Restructuring Commission implemented if the government wanted the EC to hold elections soon.
The government has said that it will hold local polls by mid-April.
Sharma said the EC had suggested some reforms in the election related bills, which it wanted to be enacted into laws. She added that the EC wanted these reforms to ensure financial transparency among political parties, proportional representation of communities at all levels of the party structure and timely auditing of accounts. The EC has also suggested invalidating the registration of political parties for failing to submit details of financial transactions to the EC every year.
Sharma said if the reforms were not enacted, rich people would win elections and the poor would continue to be their vote banks.
Sharma said the EC had proposed public funding for political parties. “We have proposed that the state provide more public funding to those parties that promote leadership of women and Dalits, even if such parties failed to win elections,” she added.
She said some politicians who did not like the reforms proposed by the EC were saying that the electoral bills should be prepared by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and not the EC.
“The EC will not be able to hold elections if reforms introduced in the election related bills do not become part of law. If our efforts to reform election laws are not accepted by the government and lawmakers, I will oppose the move even if I am the only person to do so at the EC,” she added.
She said the EC’s effort to bring new reforms in election laws were driven by its quest to rid politics of corruption. “Political corruption is at the root of all problems and we need to guard against such tendencies in political parties,” she said.