'Civil society should support Election Commission'
March 2, 2017 08:58 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 2: Election Commissioner Ila Sharma has stressed the need for “intensive engagement” between the civil society and the Election Commission (EC) in order to empower the election body as an independent and credible institution.
Speaking at a program organized by Democracy and Election Concern Nepal, Commissioner Sharma even accused some ministers and secretaries of treating the EC just as a liaison body of the home ministry. “We often have to face ministers who take the EC as a liaison office of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Sharma told Republica.
Dismayed by the government's refusal to mandate the election body to fix election date, Sharma said the EC will weaken if the civil society does not start lobbying with the government for its empowerment in the days to come.
“We are so weak that even the security guards stationed at the Singha Durbar gate try to bar us from directly getting entry,” said Sharma.
At the program, various other stakeholders demanded that the election code of conduct be enforced effectively, ensuring financial transparency and accountability during the elections. “Contesting elections has become so expensive that the financially weak cannot dare to contest elections,” said former lawmaker and Nepali Congress leader Pushpa Bhusal, adding, “A strategy to maintain financial transparency in political parties needs to be formulated urgently.”
She suggested to the EC to use the media to discourage election extravaganza.
Lawmakers attending the program urged the government to endorse the Bill Related to Political Parties without further delay to ensure the elections.