KATHMANDU, July 30: While clarifying that the Election Commission (EC) is not against the idea of holding both provincial and federal elections in a single go, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav has said that the constitutional and logistical challenges make it difficult for them to hold the polls together.
Addressing a meeting of the parliamentary Good Governance Committee on Sunday, CEC Yadav said that holding both sets of elections together may make it difficult to ensure 33 percent representation of women as well as other backward and marginalized communities in provincial and federal parliament. “If both elections are held together, we need to print 70 million ballot papers alone. Is that possible in the existing structure of our country?” he asked.
Stating that voters need to use four different ballot papers if both the polls are held together, Yadav expressed doubt if majority of voters in Nepal could use both ballot papers. “It is almost impossible in our case to print ballot papers in such a short time after poll date announcement,” he further said.
EC has been maintaining that printing and transportation of ballot papers, voters' education, human resource mobilization, collection of voters' list and management of polling stations make it difficult to hold both the polls simultaneously. Among other things, bills related to elections of the Provincial Assembly and Federal Assembly, which are currently in the parliament, need amendments.
A number of lawmakers during the meeting asked EC's view about holding both the polls together as this would save huge amount of money. CEC Yadav, however, did not rule out the possibility of holding the polls together.
“We are not against holding both the polls together. If the government makes necessary arrangements for us, we are ready to this. It is the common responsibility of all to ensure logistics management for the EC,” said Yadav, while responding to queries of the lawmakers.
The Committee Chairman Mohan Singh Rathour had asked the EC to clarify its position as the issue of holding both the polls together was raised from different quarters. Another lawmaker Janak Raj Joshi said this could save at least Rs 6 billion, which could be utilized to develop a mega hydropower plant.
Speaking on the occasion, lawmakers had rapped the EC for failing to strictly enforce the code of conduct during the recent elections. They said that the failure of the EC to enforce the code of conduct had given rise to exorbitant expenditure during the elections.
Arguing that the territories covered by rural municipalities and municipalities in the hilly districts are too large, the lawmakers asked the EC to collect voters' name at least from then village development committees (VDCs) to make it easy for people to enroll themselves in the voters' list. Among other things, the lawmakers demanded that the EC make necessary arrangements to provide Nepali nationals living abroad the opportunity to cast their votes should they choose to come home for polls.