Poll panel for holding both elections together

Kathmandu, August 17

The Election Commission today proposed to hold provincial and parliamentary elections together but on two dates — November 20 and December 7.

During the meeting with senior leaders of the three major parties — the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the  CPN-MC — held at Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s official residence, EC office bearers, including Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav, proposed to hold the first phase of provincial and parliamentary elections in 31 districts of remote hilly  and mountainous districts on November 20, stating that it will not be possible to conduct polls there on a later date due to the  cold spell of winter.

They proposed to conduct the second phase of provincial and parliamentary elections in the remaining districts on December 7.

Chief Election Commissioner Yadav told mediapersons outside the meeting venue that it was decided to conduct both provincial and parliamentary elections together. Yadav added that EC office bearers told the leaders that the EC wanted the government to announce poll dates by August 19 and to pass poll related bills by August 21.  He added that EC office bearers needed the report of the Constituency Delimitation Commission by August 31.

EC officials told leaders that Janak Education Material Centre, where the EC printed ballot papers, did not have enough capacity to print the required number of ballot papers to conduct elections at one go. UML Deputy Parliamentary Party leader Subas Chandra Nembang, who was in the meeting, said leaders of all political parties were in favour  of holding  both elections — provincial and the parliamentary — simultaneously on one date.

“We asked EC officials to work out on the possibility of holding both provincial and parliamentary elections on one date throughout the country and inform the parties tomorrow,” said Nembang.  According to him, leaders of the three parties agreed to begin the process of passing poll related bills within the deadline set by the EC. He said the relevant committee of the Parliament would start work on the bills beginning tomorrow. As per the constitution, both elections — provincial and the parliamentary — should be held before January 21.

Apart from Prime Minister Deuba, senior NC leaders Ramchandra Paudel and Prakash Man Shrestha, CPN-UML leaders KP Sharma Oli, Nembang and Rajendra Pandey, and CPN-MC Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha were present in the meeting.

CEC Yadav, EC commissioners Dahal, Ishwori Prasad Paudel and Sudhir Kumar Shah, and EC Secretary Maheshwor Neupane represented the EC in the meeting.

The EC, meanwhile, has warned parties against poll code violation and urged them to deposit relief materials to the natural disaster relief committees of the respective districts of Province 2. The poll panel also directed chief district officers of Province 2 to distribute relief materials to flood victims.