KATMANDU, Nov 6: With the first round of parliamentary and provincial elections just 20 days away, the Election Commission (EC) is busy dispatching poll logistics to the 32 districts where the polls are taking place. Except establishing polling centers in the districts, all logistical preparations required for the polls have been completed at the central level, election officials say.
Ballot papers for 37 electoral constituencies of the 32 districts have already been printed. The ballot papers and other essential logistics are being transported to the districts. "Their transportation of logistics for the first round of elections will be completed within a couple of days," said EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal, adding, "After completing ballots and other logistics for the first phase elections, we have now started printing ballot papers for the second phase elections."
The printing of 17.4 million ballot papers for proportional representation election category was already completed. The printing of ballots to be used for the first-past-the-post electoral system has just completed. Even as ballots for proportional representation (PR) election category were readied, the printing of ballots to be used under the FPTP category was delayed after the Supreme Court ordered the election body to arrange two separate ballot papers for parliament and provincial assembly elections under the FPTP, going against what the election body had previously designed - two ballots in a single sheet of paper. Currently, EC is printing two separate ballots designed for the second round of elections.
Trucks are being used to transport the logistics. The election body plans to complete the transportation of logistics to the districts within a couple of days. "Now onward, district level officials will fully focus on managing the polling centers and other preparations," said Dhakal.
District level preparations for the polls have been expedited with the establishment of local offices in the districts. As part of conducting the elections in 37 election constituencies of 32 districts, the EC has also mobilized 37 monitors to inspect the ongoing poll preparations and challenges to be addressed instantly to ensure the polls in a free, fair and credible manner.
Returning officers have expedited district level poll preparations including security arrangements. Security agencies have been mobilized to the ground to tackle security challenges.
The EC is conducting the first round of polls on November 26 while the second round of polls will be conducted on December 7. The polls will elect 165 members for the central parliament and 330 provincial assembly members under the FPTP. Apart from this, the election will elect 110 members of parliament and 220 members of provincial assemblies under the PR category.
Election symbols distributed
The EC on Sunday distributed election symbols to party leaders and independent candidates contesting the second round of elections on December 7. The election body is conducting the second round of elections in 45 districts. Altogether 128 members of central parliament and 256 provincial assembly members will be elected in the second phase elections. For this 4,482 candidates are contesting the elections.
Among the total candidates willing to contest the elections, the EC had rejected the candidacies of two candidates while the candidacies of four candidates were scrapped following complaints from rival candidates. Apart from this, 258 candidates withdrew their candidacies on Sunday, the deadline given to the parties and candidates to withdraw candidacy.
With this, the EC has named 4,482 candidates as final candidates for the elections and election symbols were given to them on Sunday as scheduled.