EC seeks explanation from Ravi Lamichhane over citizenship controversy

Published On: November 17, 2022 09:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 17: The Election Commission (EC) has asked Ravi Lamichhane, chairman of the National Independent Party, for an explanation. Lamichhane was asked for an explanation after a complaint was received at the District Election Office of the EC, Chitwan, stating that Lamichhane had not renounced his Nepali citizenship while taking foreign citizenship.

After receiving the complaint, the commission wrote to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer at Chitwan Constituency No 2 to take necessary action. Accordingly, Chitwan 2 Chief Electoral Officer Ritendra Thapa said that an explanation was sought within a time frame of one-week.

"A complaint has been filed against you by the commission. Are the allegations against you true? If true then why should your candidature not be rejected by the commission?” We have asked for an explanation with the word that you should submit an explanation within a week with clear evidence,” the EC said in the statement.

Rajkumar Pandey filed a complaint in EC on Tuesday demanding that Lamichhane's candidature should be canceled as he did not renounce his Nepali citizenship after acquiring the citizenship of a foreign country. Assistant Electoral Officer Ishwar Acharya said that the office of the Chief Electoral Officer has submitted an explanation letter to the secretariat of the candidates. He said that Lamichhane has been asked to submit an explanation with evidence about the complaint lodged with the commission within a week.

It is reported that Lamichhane has received the complaint along with a photocopy from the Office of the Chief Election Officer Bharatpur through the party's District Secretary Krishna Prasad Bhusal.

Acharya said that after receiving the clarification from Lamichhane, it will be sent to the EC’s Central Office in Kathmandu. He mentioned that Lamichhane's candidacy will remain until the commission makes a decision. “The commission itself has given a deadline of seven days. As soon as a complaint is filed, the candidature will not be canceled,” he said, “so far he can contest the election.” He said that since there are four days left for the election, Ravi can give an explanation even after the election.

Meanwhile, Ravi Lamichhane has claimed that his citizenship dispute was resolved four years ago. In a video posted on Facebook to clarify the complaint against him, he has said that he gave up his US passport after completing the paperwork. “Complaining is not a big deal. I have to answer to the Election Commission. I will give my answer," he said. He also said that an explanation was submitted in 2018 after receiving a complaint at the Press Council four years ago.

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