95 parties register for provincial, parliamentary polls

Published On: August 28, 2017 02:56 AM NPT By: Bhadra Sharma

KATHMANDU, August 28: A total of 95 political parties have applied at the Election Commission (EC) for registration, expressing their willingness to contest the provincial and parliamentary elections scheduled for November 26. 

EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma informed Republica that 95 parties have registered their applications to contest the upcoming polls, as the deadline to register for the upcoming elections expired on Sunday. 

"The officials concerned will now go through the applications to check whether the parties have submitted their statutes, election manifestoes and audit reports as required by the constitution," said Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma. 

All major parties have applied for registration for the upcoming elections while newly-formed parties such as Bibeksheel Sajha Party and Naya Shakti Nepal have also expressed their willingness to participate in the elections.  

In the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections, altogether 130 parties had registered but only 122 contested the elections. Altogether 75 political parties had contested the first CA elections. 

Sharma said the final name-list of the parties contesting the elections will be made public soon. After that, the EC plans to print the ballot papers for proportional representation (PR) system first, considering the time constraint. The election body believes it will take time to print the ballot papers and finalize the name-list of the candidates contesting the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system.

The government has set November 26 as the poll date for the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections. Since the third round of local elections is taking place on September 18, the election body will remain busy and it may affect the preparations for the upcoming elections. 

"Considering the time constraint, we want to begin printing the ballot papers for the PR system before finalizing the candidates for the FPTP category," said Spokesperson Sharma. 

Currently, the EC is busy verifying the voters enrolled during recent voter registration campaign conducted across the country. Nearly 1.5 million new voters registered during the campaign.

But other preparations by the EC and fixation of polling stations have been affected in the absence of electoral laws and report of the Electoral Constituency Delineation Commission (ECDC).  Laws related to provincial and central parliamentary elections are pending at parliament for last two months after Nepali Congress lawmakers reportedly lobbied for decreasing the 10-year ban imposed on corruption-convicted politicians.  
The ECDC is still struggling to finalize its report. EC officials say they cannot begin poll preparations without getting the report on constituency delineation. "What we have received so far is only the poll date, not the policies required to hold the polls," said Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav adding, "This has affected our overall preparations." 

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