EC 'totally unaware' of decision on 22 new local units

Published On: May 24, 2017 01:20 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, May 24: The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday said that it is 'totally unaware' about the government's decision to create 22 additional local units in the tarai and that it will announce its position on the matter after it is informed about the decision through formal channels.   

A day after the government's decided to form 22 more local units and upgrade 23 rural municipalities into municipalities, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said the EC is working to conduct the second round of local elections in the 461 local units of 41 districts as mandated by the government. 

"The commission has not done anything regarding accepting or rejecting the 22 newly created local units as we have not received any information through formal channels. We cannot comment simply on the  basis of news reports. What we are doing so far is only making preparations for the second round  local elections as mandated by the government," said Chief Election Commissioner Yadav. 

The government has increased the number of local units in tarai districts against the background  of the first round  local elections already being conducted in the 283 local units of 34 districts. Poll observers and election experts have complained about the government acting to influence the elections. 

A board meeting of the EC was supposed to take place  Tuesday but the commissioners left  the office without taking any decision since no formal information was provided to  them regarding  the additional local units.  Pressure is  mounting on the EC to reject the government decision to increase the number of local units just ahead of scheduled polls.

The EC itself has admitted that it will be difficult to conduct the polls on June 14 as announced by the government if more local units have to be accommodated. The election body needs to re-print ballot papers, voter ID cards and voter rolls. Additionally, polling stations need to rearranged and additional polling officers deployed . "Before deploying new polling officers they have to be trained on how to conduct the election. We will need to start preparations from zero if newly created local units are to be accommodated in second round  elections," said another election commissioner, Narendra Dahal. 

Commissioner Dahal said holding the second round of elections as scheduled  would be impossible if the newly-created local units are to be accommodated. "Given the context, we cannot hold the elections. The June 14 elections will be technically impossible," said Dahal. 

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