Polls significant in many ways, says Kerdphol

Kathmandu, April 4:

The Former Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Army, Saiyud Kerdphol, who is leading a 100-member delegation of international observers from Asian Network for Free Election (ANFREL), says the election to constituent assembly in Nepal will cross barriers of challenges.

“The election in Nepal is significant in many senses as it is going to overcome all challenges. The government, the parties and the public as well as the observers will have roles to play to make the historic event a success,” he told this daily today.

Kerdphol arrived in the capital yesterday, along with the 80-member short-term observers. Its 20 long-term observers are already on field since 14 March. The ANFREL observers include

civil society members from 22 Asian countries. He said election in post-conflict situation is not only an election but also a safe and democratic outlet to the conflict. “I have personally witnessed many elections in post-conflict countries — from East Timor to Pakistan — and I understand how challenging it can be,” he said.

He said violence could be witnessed to some extent in the given political situation in Nepal, but instead of tolerating them in general the observers will have to look at such incidents individually and see how much impact they can have in the election process and how much of them can affect the overall result.

When asked about the possibility of differences of opinion among the international observers, he said the difference is natural but the reports by the observing organisations should be true and credible.

“Every team has its views. We have to accept that. But efforts must be there that their reports

are going to be very near to the truth,” he said, adding that the reports of the observers, both domestic and international, would play an important role in making the whole world believe that the election were indeed free and fair.

In the context of the election-related violence, he said the observers have to be very careful that their observations and reports in general, or focussed on any particular incident, must be free from any prejudice for or against any political party or ideology. “We cannot ignore the fact that some organisations may have some preferences for or against any ideology. But in this post-cold war world, we should be free from such biases and do our duty with maximum neutrality,” he said, adding that the ANFREL would at least be free from such biases.