Local Level Elections
Published On: March 28, 2017 08:26 AM NPT By: Republica | @RepublicaNepal
KATHMANDU, March 28: Political parties that do not have representation in parliament and independent candidates will have to contest the upcoming local-level elections with independent election symbols.
In the past, the political parties, irrespective of their presence in the parliament, were allowed to contest in elections with their party symbols.
Citing the legal provision adopted recently, the Election Commission (EC) this time has made it clear that only 27 political parties represented in the parliament will get their party symbols for the elections.
"Parties other than those represented in the legislature will have to contest the elections with independent election symbols. They can choose the symbols from among those printed on the ballot paper, but other than those that have already been allocated to political parties," said election commissioner Narendra Dahal.
As per the new rule, candidates of a same party not represented in the parliament will have to contest the elections with different symbols in different constituencies.
Even as the parties and independent candidates are yet to file their candidature, and the number of candidates is yet to be finalized, the EC has already started printing the ballot papers.
"Ballot papers are being printed based on our study of willingness of political parties in districts. Candidates of the parties not represented in the parliament and independent ones have to choose one of the election symbols printed on the ballot papers," said commissioner Dahal.
The EC has given symbols to all the 113 political parties registered with it. However, it has published symbols of only 27 political parties represented in the parliament.
Dismayed, the parties that have not been given the symbols are protesting the EC's decision. Terming the EC's decision 'discriminatory', the parties have demanded they be allowed to use their preferred symbols as their election symbols.
The election body, however, is refusing to designate their respective party's symbol in the elections, stating that the electoral law doesn't allow it to do so. "According to the law, we can designate only those parties represented in the parliament with election symbols. If the rule is to change, we have to begin the work from zero, and that's not possible now," said Dahal.
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