EDITORIAL: Electoral reforms

The main objective of providing the public fund to the political parties is to discourage the interest groups from getting their vested interests served through legal means

The Election Commission (EC) has asked Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to table the Bills it has prepared in Parliament in their original form.

The five Bills related to holding the local elections aim to make electoral reforms, make the political parties transparent in terms of financial transactions and discourage the interest groups from influencing the political parties through clandestine financing.

The EC has proposed providing public fund to the political parties that poll a certain percentage of the popular votes and making them mandatory to submit annual audit report. EC has also proposed cancelling the registration of a political party for failing to submit the annual audit report.

Under the existing law, a political party’s registration cannot be cancelled even if it fails to submit the audit report for three years. The main objective of providing the public fund to the political parties is to discourage the interest groups from getting their vested interests served through legal means.

It may be a little financial burden for the State initially. But once the system comes into force it will control the parties from indulging in corruption, irregularities and control damaging effects on the markets.

The government has planned to hold the local-level elections by mid-April next year. But the EC’s office bearers have told the government that it needs all the laws ready at least three months before the election date.

The EC has hoped that if the Bills prepared by the EC are passed they will provide a level playing field to all the political parties, make them accountable to their electorate and women’s participation in legislature and executive will also increase making the hard-earned democracy more participatory and inclusive.

The EC has proposed fielding 50 percent women candidates in all level of elections and one of the major posts in village council and municipalities must be for women.

New provisions in the elections related Bills are praiseworthy.

The EC, the government and Parliament should also consider adding a clause in one of the Bills that a political party must secure a certain percent of the popular valid votes cast to get recognition of a national political party and to get public fund from the State.

There must be a clause in the election related Bills under which a political party must win at least one parliamentary constituency under the First-Past-the-Post (FPtP) to secure other seats under the PR system and to get State fund.

The number of political parties in Parliament will come down substantially if it is made mandatory that a political party must win at least one constituency under FPtP.

The provision of providing the public fund to the political parties will not be effective enough to discourage the parties from mobilizing financial resources through clandestine means; maintain their financial transactions transparent and make them accountable to the people.

Besides, the laws should also make it mandatory that parties carry out their annual audit reports only through the Office of the Auditor’s General, not through private auditing firms.

Then, the political parties will become transparent and accountable to the people if these are translated into laws.

Safer skies

Travelling by air is considered to be safer than other modes of transport. But recently many aircraft have had very close calls.

Fortunately, there are no human casualties although many flights had to be diverted due to some technological fault in recent times. This is no time to remain complacent but to always ensure that the aircraft are fit to fly.

The runways too seem to be defective. Many aircraft have been compelled to make emergency landing. This raises the question as to how safe the skies are in Nepal.

The common man, therefore, these days travel by air with a certain amount of trepidation.

It is the responsibility of airlines operating to ensure that all safety measures are taken in order to avoid tragic accidents.

So, measures should be implemented to ensure that flying is safe for the most part because they can be avoided if proper precautions are taken. Nepali aircraft are not permitted to fly in the European countries.

The concerned should take the blame for this and do all they can so that the Nepali aircraft are safer to meet the international standard.