Two-phase poll OK, but changes could hamper preparations, says EC

Kathmandu, April 22

The Election Commission today said local elections could be hampered if the parties agreed to change the key aspects of the election such as voters’ list, voters’ address, polling centres and election symbols.

“Elections can be held in two phases, but numbers or boundaries of local levels in any province cannot be changed for the local polls, said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, he added that all the preparations would be rendered useless and local polls would become uncertain if changes were made.

“For instance, it took us 50 days to print ballot papers,” he said, adding, “If we go for changes, the schedule will be delayed by 20 to 30 days.” He also said that providing symbols to new  parties was not possible due to time constraint. “If any political party has recently decided to participate in the upcoming local election, it will have to take the earlier symbol of a party having representation in Parliament or take the symbols provided for independent candidates,” he said.

“Postponing polls by some days to provide time for the agitating forces to prepare for elections will be okay,” he said, adding, “It will not create any problem for the EC.”

According to Dahal, if any political party decides to make changes to the existing laws, it will affect the election scheduled for May 14.

By way of example, he told The Himalayan Times that the newly formed Rastriya Janata Party could not be registered for local elections and could not take the umbrella as the party’s election symbol. “We have already printed the ballot papera and changes can affect our schedule.”

Dahal informed THT that the printing of voters’ identity card was in the final stage.  So, any change related to voters’ identity cards would also hamper the polls. He also said the government had already been informed about the situation and the possible effects of political decisions. “We will study and reply to the government if anything comes to us regarding postponement of the polls or any new thing emerges from the ongoing political dialogue.