Wants Constituency Deliniation Committee's report in by July 30
KATHMANDU, July 5: The Election Commission has suggested to the government not to split the existing wards of local units while delineating election constituencies for the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections.
In a letter sent to the government, the election body has argued that splitting the wards will invite serious complications at the local level where 744 local units and their respective areas were already demarcated during the local elections. Additionally, the EC has also suggested the government divide into two each the election constituencies demarcated for the parliamentary elections, but in doing so not to stray from the boundaries set for those constituencies.
The constitution has a provision for creating 165 election constituencies under first-past-the-post and double that number for the provincial assemblies.
Concerned over the fast-approaching constitutional deadline for completing the remaining elections, the EC has formally requested the government to form the Constituency Delineation Commission at the earliest and have it produce its report by July 30.
The constitution has a provision for forming such a commission for redrawing the election constituencies in keeping with the changed demographic and geographical situation of the country.
Currently, there are 240 election constituencies under the first-past-the-post category, and the constitution has a provision for reducing these to 165 in the context of the country already converting to a federal setup. The commission is also mandated to fix 330 election constituencies for the provincial assemblies.
In its letter sent to the government through the Ministry of Home Affairs, the election body on Tuesday also urged the government to clear other legal hurdles within the next 25 days. "We have already drawn the prime minister's attention towards the fast expiring constitutional deadline for conducting the entire set of elections. Today, we have officially asked the government to clear the legal and administrative challenges lying ahead," said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal, adding, "We can only begin preparations for conducting the upcoming elections once the legal hurdles are cleared."
Calculating the time left for conducting the provincial and parliamentary elections, the election body has suggested promulgating the acts related to the election of provincial assembly members and memebrs of parliament by mid-July. Election commissioners believe they could arrange the required logistics in time and conduct the elections as set out in the constitution. "This is tantamount to our official condition for conducting the remaining elections within the given deadline," said Commissioner Dahal.
The EC has suggested the government amend the existing Voter Registration Act. The act has a provision requiring the completion of voter registration before the announcement of the poll date. The EC says that millions of voters will be left out of the voter rolls if this provision is not made more flexible.
"We can focus on the upcoming elections only when these basics are completed," sad EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma. Calculating the number of days required for conducting the elections, the EC has suggested the government complete these basics and announce the poll dates for upcoming elections by the first week of August.
Election commissioners have proposed that the government announce the provincial elections for mid-October. They also suggest that the government hold the national assembly elections within the last week of October and the parliamentary elections within the third week of November.