July 16, 2017 05:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, July 15: Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), which has boycotted the local level elections so far, was registered with the Election Commission (EC) on Saturday.
A board meeting of the election body has decided to register RJPN and Rabindra Mishra-led Sajha Party. "We have decided to register RJPN and Sajha Party. A few other newly-formed parties, too, have been registered. The official decision will be made public tomorrow," said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal.
On July 7, RJPN leaders had filed an application at the EC, seeking to get registered with the election body to participate in the third round of local elections to be held in Province 2 on September 18. Pressure is mounting on RJPN leaders to participate in the elections after some of its leaders contested second round of local elections as independent candidates while some joined other parties following the party's poll boycott decision.
This has forced the RJPN to participate in Province 2 elections, the region which is considered as a stronghold of the Madhes-based parties. The party, however, has demanded to provide new election symbol and pass the constitution amendment bill registered at parliament before the elections. RJPN which was formed after the merger of six Madhes-based parties ahead of June 28 local elections has sought umbrella as its election symbol.
The election body is positive about providing this election symbol for the upcoming provincial and central parliamentary elections but not for September 18 local elections. "We have already printed the ballot papers. So, we cannot give a new election symbol this time," said EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma.
Polls in Province 2 were also scheduled for May 14 but the government delayed the polls following Madhes-based parties' warning of obstructing the elections. Poll officials were asked to return after the government decided to conduct the polls in Province 2 on September 18. The ballot papers have been kept at army barracks. Other election materials are stored at the district election offices.