EC asks Govt to ensure foolproof security for phase II polls

Published On: May 26, 2017 05:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 26: Reiterating its commitment to hold the second round of local elections on June 14 as scheduled, the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday asked the government to ensure foolproof security to hold the elections in a free, fair and credible manner. 

In a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the EC has categorically ruled out the possibility of holding polls in the 22 newly-created local units. Instead, the election body has assured of holding the second round of local elections in 461 local units of 41 districts as scheduled. 

"The commission is all prepared to hold elections in the remaining local units.

Preparations are almost in the final stage. What we need at this moment is full support in maintaining security in poll areas," said EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma, adding, “That's why a letter has been sent to the government requesting security."

The security concern from the election body comes at a time when the MoHA, the ministry responsible for maintaining law and order, is run by a caretaker home minister.

Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi has turned caretaker following Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's resignation on Wednesday. PM Dahal tendered his resignation as per an agreement reached with the Nepali Congress, the major coalition partner. 

EC is worried that the security during polls could be compromised as the formation of a new government may take time while the existing government has already turned into a caretaker one. Poll opposing parties' threat to obstruct the polls has also raised the election body's concern. 

The government recently added 22 local units and upgraded 23 rural municipalities into municipalities in tarai districts in an effort to woo the poll-opposing forces. The election body, however, has ruled out the possibility of holding elections in newly created local units, citing the lack of adequate time for preparations. 

"We have not yet received the name lists of the newly-created local units and their boundaries. We can begin work there only when the details are published in the gazette which will take time," said Spokesperson Shgarma, adding, "By the time we receive these details, will miss the deadline set for candidacy nomination."

As a part of holding the election, the EC has already deployed returning officers to the ground and election materials - voter rolls, voter ID cards, among others. The EC has set the next Friday as the nomination day. "Before candidacy nomination, the candidates should prove that they are the voters of the same election constituencies they are filing their nominations for," said Spokesperson Sharma, "That's why we have ruled out the possibility of holding polls in the newly-created units."

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