KATHMANDU, July 30: The Election Commission (EC) has called on political parties to enroll with it by August-end for the purpose of contesting the upcoming provincial assembly and parliamentary elections.
A board meeting of the election body has decided to open the enrollment for parties wishing to contest the coming elections. "Parties already registered with the election body should inform it of their intention to contest a given election ahead of that election. We have asked the parties to enroll with us for election purposes by August 27," said EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma.
Citing constitutional provisions, Spokesperson Sharma informed that only those parties that are already registered with the election body can contest as political parties. Parties registering after the deadline will have to field their candidates as independents.
Parties registered with the election body will get a common election symbol for its candidates while the other parties will have to field their candidates as independents.
In view of these legal complications, Rastriya Janata Party applied for registration at the election body before mid-July (when the fiscal year expired) and it was officially registered on July 15.
Bibeksheel Nepali Dal and Sajha Party, which recently merged into one party, were registered with the election body separately last fiscal year and they are likely to be unable to contest as a single party now. The two parties were merged on Wednesday and rebranded as Sajha Bibeksheel Party.
"The party cannot contest upcoming elections in the capacity of a political party as it was registered after mid-July," said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal, adding, "Such parties have to field independent candidates and we can only provide them independent election symbol, not a common party symbol."
Since the Constitution has a provision for conducting all three sets of elections by January 21, 2018, the Election Commission is preparing to conduct provincial assembly and parliamentary elections within that deadline. The election body has already conducted local elections in six of the seven provinces. Elections for Province 7 are scheduled for September 18.