KATHMANDU, May 4: More than 44,000 candidates are vying for 13,556 posts at a total of 283 local units in the three provinces where the Election Commission (EC) is conducting the first phase local elections on May 14.
As of Wednesday evening, the election body has received particulars concerning 44,041 candidates from local election offices. Election officials say the number of candidates will increase further. "Some local units are yet to brief us about candidate details. The number of candidates will definitely increase," informed EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma.
Apart from political party candidates, thousands of independents have also filed their nominations for the local elections. Since the elections are taking place after a gap of 19 years, many youths are running as independents even if they are not given an opportunity to run on party tickets.
The EC, however, is yet to tally the number of male and female candidates. As per preliminary details compiled by the election body, most women are confined to running for deputy mayoral positions. The electoral law has a provision for fielding a woman as either the chief or deputy chief of a local unit.
"Women candidates are being fielded for deputy mayors, but the parties have met the criteria of fielding two women candidates per ward committee," said Spokesperson Sharma.
The electoral law also has a provision for ensuring at least 40 percent women candidacies and for their 50 percent representation in executive positions.
"The exact details on candidates including gender and caste will be finalized by tomorrow," said the spokesperson.
Monitoring Officers deployed
Over two dozen high-level monitoring officers are being deployed in the three provinces for poll monitoring purposes. A board meeting of the EC has deployed a government secretary and 27 joint-secretaries to local units to monitor the overall state of implementation of the election code of conduct, the poll campaigns and the availability of logistics at local level.
"They can directly report the situation at local level, coordinate among stakeholders and take action on the spot if necessary," said Election Commissioner Ishwari Paudel.
The deployment of the senior officials comes after the election body delegated its powers to local offices and the election campaigns gathered momentum. The EC is also preparing to deploy micro-monitors in the districts to observe the poll environment ahead of the voting day.