Upcoming polls simpler than local level elections: EC

Kathmandu, October 2

Amid apprehensions that the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections will be complicated and confusing for voters given that both the elections are being held simultaneously, the Election Commission claimed these elections would be simpler than the local-level polls with minimum invalid votes.

According to the EC, there will only be two types of ballot papers — red for the proportional representation system and green for the first-past-the-post system for both provincial and parliamentary elections. The upper portion of both types of ballot papers will have symbols for parliamentary elections, while the lower portion will have symbols for provincial elections.

“These types of ballot papers are to be dropped into two separate ballot boxes as designated,” said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal. “This will simplify the voting process compared to the local-level elections that concluded recently, ensuring minimum per cent of invalid votes.” He also said voters had fair knowledge of voting system now as they had already voted for local-level elections.

With less than two months remaining for elections, the commission also plans to intensify its voter education activities. Besides giving continuity to activities carried out during local-level elections, the EC this time plans to hold orientation activities among local-level political leaders. “We will make sure that all the districts are covered,” said Dahal, adding the EC also plans to conduct mock polls in as many locations as possible. The commission will also impart training to local journalists, besides carrying out regular activities such as door-to-door campaigns, publicity through local and national television and radio, and distributing pamphlets and publications.

Election Commissioner Ila Sharma also said the EC will ensure there’s minimum invalid votes this time. “We’ve reviewed voter education activities for the local-level polls and have learned some lessons. So this time, the activities will be carried out more effectively,” she said, adding, it also depends how effectively political parties and civil society hold such training programmes.

The commission is currently appointing returning officers, setting up offices in each district, designing and printing ballot papers.

Tomorrow, the EC is organising a training programme for the staff members of Janak Education Material Centre, which prints ballot papers. “So voter education activities have begun,” said Dahal. “I am sure there will be minimum invalid votes this time, certainly less than in the local-level elections.”

The provincial and parliamentary elections will be held simultaneously but in two phases in November 26 and December 7.