Parties missing deadline in some districts allowed to contest polls

Published On: March 23, 2017 08:31 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 23: The Election Commission (EC) has decided to allow some parties, which missed an earlier deadline to register for the upcoming local election in some districts, to participate in the polls in those districts. Parties including the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) had not registered for the polls in some districts and the EC said they could miss the elections in those districts. 

A board meeting of the election body on Wednesday, however, agreed to incorporate the parties not registered in the district election offices. The EC, which began printing the ballot papers from Sunday, has not mentioned those parties on the ballot papers in those districts after the parties did not submit their details nor expressed their willingness to contest the election at district level when they were urged to do so.

NC has not informed the EC about its presence in Dolpa while the RPP has missed deadline given by the EC to get registered in 9 districts, including Jhapa and Morang. Apart from them, Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal, Sanghiya Samajbadi Party Nepal, Jana Samajbadi Party Nepal, Green Party Nepal, Rastriya Yatarthabadi Nepal among others were not registered at various district election offices. 

"Onwards now, these parties will also be included in the ballot paper and their representatives will be allowed to contest the elections," said election commissioner Ishwari Prasad Paudyal. 

The parties had not informed the EC about their willingness to contest the election when the EC asked them to do so.  When the EC published the details of the parties contesting the elections, these parties which missed out in the list had demanded that they too be included. 

However, the election body did not heed their demand. Instead, the EC finalized the ballot papers without including them. Pressed by the parties, the election body, however, has now agreed to allow them to participate in the election. 

In case of Dolpa, the EC has already printed the ballot papers. "We have to re-print the ballot papers there to bring the Nepali Congress on board the election process. We may have to redesign the ballot papers in other districts," said an informed source at the EC. 

On January 1, the EC had asked the parties to get registered at the local election offices and inform the EC whether they are contesting the election within a month of the notice. Based on the EC notice, 47 political parties are registered in Kathmandu while only 6 parties are registered in Manang.

The ballot papers were designed based on the details of the parties provided by the local election offices.

Polling stations suggested in 57 districts 

In view of the upcoming local elections, more than half of the 75 districts have finalized venues for the polling stations seeking final approval from the Election Commission (EC). 

As many as 57 districts have finalized the venues for the polling stations. The election body will fix the polling stations based on their recommendations. "The remaining districts are expected to forge consensus on polling stations venue through consensus and forward the decision to us," said EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma adding, "And, we will deploy election officials soon after over 21,000 polling stations are fixed across the country. Before that, we are reviewing their recommendations" 

EC officials say the fixing of polling stations will help them to begin actual preparations for the elections. The increment of local units from previously proposed 719 has put the election officials in a fix. "After polling stations we need to finalize voter roll clearing way for printing some 14 million voter ID cars," said Spokesperson Sharma.

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