Parties 'agree' for vote counting right after phase I polls

Published On: May 9, 2017 12:50 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Commission can't keep ballot boxes for a month: CEC Yadav
KATHMANDU, May 9: Three major political parties - Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) - have agreed in principle to start counting votes shortly after the conclusion of the first phase elections on May 14.  A formal decision regarding this will be taken after consulting with the Election Commission and other political parties, according to a source. 

Considering the sensitivity associated with the ballot boxes and possible disputes while providing security to ballot boxes, the top leaders of major political parties reached the decision at a meeting called by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at his official residence in Baluwatar. 

"It's not a big issue. The parties are positive about starting counting votes after the first phase of elections. Since vote counting falls under the jurisdiction of the Election Commission, the government will consult with the election body before deciding what to do," said ruling CPN (Maoist Center) Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal. 

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said although the commission is yet to decide over vote counting they are not in a position to wait for a month. "The law is clear about starting vote counting soon after the election. We cannot keep ballot boxes for a month," said CEC Yadav.
The main opposition UML has also softened its previous stance on vote counting. 

UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai told Republica that he was unaware about any agreement on vote counting after the first phase. He, however, said that the party also wants vote counting to take place right after the elections.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba on Sunday, UML Chair KP Sharma Oli had reportedly proposed to count the votes soon after the elections.

Earlier, the party had called on the need to start counting votes after concluding both phases of the local elections slated for May 14 and June 14.

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