The Election Commission has printed 95,25,000 ballot papers, almost half the number required for the local polls slated for May 13.

These ballot papers will be enough for 46 districts. The EC has to print 19.4 million ballot papers for the 77 districts that go to polls.

The EC has been printing ballot papers for the remote districts first, as transporting them there in time could be a challenging task.

EC Spokesperson Shaligram Sharma Paudel said at a daily press briefing that new voters could not register their names in the voter list, as poll dates had already been announced.

"The prevailing law stipulates that new voters cannot be registered after poll dates have been announced," Paudel said in response to a journalist's query.

Asked about foreign assistance in local polls, Paudel said all the expenses were being borne by the Government of Nepal. "We had held a zoom meeting with donor countries and agencies, but we did not get an encouraging commitment from them," Paudel said. He added that had donor agencies or countries committed poll assistance to Nepal, the government would have to spend less on polls. "But now the context and time for donor agencies and countries to provide poll expenses has elapsed," he added. He said foreign countries and donor agencies could still help Nepal with ballot boxes and swastika stamps.

Paudel said some deliveries of goods were behind schedule due to COVID-19 lockdown and some other problems, but that would not stop the poll panel from holding local polls on time. Most of the poll materials have already arrived in Nepal.

Regarding complaints of poll code of conduct violation, Assistant Spokesperson for the EC Surya Prasad Aryal told THT that CPN (Unified Socialist), CPN-Maoist Centre, and Nepali Congress leader Shashank Koirala had already submitted their clarification and the EC would take a call on their responses.

"If the EC is not satisfied with their responses, it could seek clarification from them again," he added.

The poll panel had issued show cause notices to CPN (US), CPN-MC, and Shashank Koirala for allegedly violating poll code.

CPN-MC cadres had displayed the photo of Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Kul Man Ghising, along with photos of party leaders, during poll campaigning; Koirala had allegedly remarked that he had spent Rs 60 million in the last parliamentary elections; and CPN (US) was accused of violating poll code during its mass meeting recently at Bhrikuti Mandap.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 18, 2022, of The Himalayan Times