KATHMANDU, April 2: As part of final preparations for the May 14 local elections, the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday finalized the list of eligible voters.
A board meeting of the EC has included 14,054,482 people registered with the election body as eligible voters. Of the total, the number of male voters stands at 7,069,714 and female voters at 6,984,625. The number of third gender voters is 143.
There were 12.1 million eligible voters in the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections. This was a sharp decline from the voter number in the 2008 elections, as the EC had replaced its paper voter registration system with a biometric system.
While the election body has registered all those above 16 years of age during its voter rolls update drive this time, it has decided to list only those who crossed 18 by February 20 as eligible for voting in the coming local elections.
"We had set February 20 as the cut-off date. Based on that, the EC decided to list 14,054,482 people as eligible to vote in the local elections," said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal. Apart from its regular voter registration, the election body conducted a nationwide voter registration drive before starting the actual poll preparations.
According to details provided by the EC, the highest number of voters are registered in Morang district. The details show that 563,870 voters are registered in Morang while the least number are registered in Manang. Only 5,095 voters are registered in this mountain district.
Fewer voters are registered in Kathmandu district than Morang. There are 559,400 voters registered in Kathmandu.
The election body has made public the voter rolls without finalizing the polling stations in six districts of Province 2, following obstructions by Madhes-centric parties. Of the eight districts in the province, only Bara and Parsa have finalized the number of polling stations. The remaining districts of Province 2 have not yet decided the polling stations. "There might be some changes in the case of the six Madhes districts. But we could not delay finalizing the voter rolls as we have to print the rolls and voter ID cards before sending them out to the polling stations," said EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma.
The EC is hopeful that the political parties will settle their disputes over the constitutional amendment soon and the local elections will take place across the country at the same time.
Immediately after finalizing the number of eligible voters, the EC has begun to print the voter rolls. Both the voter rolls and voter IDs will be printed at presses set up within the EC premises. "We are printing the voter rolls on our own. Selected private firms will print the voter ID cards," said Spokesperson Sharma.