KATHMANDU, March 21: Major political parties have reiterated their commitment to enact legislation as soon as possible for Nepali citizens living abroad to exercise their voting right. They are confident that Nepalis living abroad will be able to exercise their voting right in the next election by issuing unified acts and rules related to the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Addressing a policy dialogue on the voting rights of Nepalis living abroad organized by the non-profit and independent international think tank Nepal Policy Institute (NPI) promoted by the Nepali Diaspora on Sunday evening, the party representatives said that they are ready to make necessary laws to give voting rights to Nepalis living abroad.
At the beginning of the dialogue, Khagendra Raj Dhakal, chairman of the NPI, spoke about the international practice of voting for citizens living abroad as well as the party leaders’ commitments to migrant workers in the 2017 election manifesto.
Following the Supreme Court's order, the Election Commission has drafted a unified law on conducting and managing elections and the parties have committed to move it forward after it is tabled in parliament.
The political leaders from various political parties including Minister for Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation, Pampha Bhusal (CPN-Maoist Center), former Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat (Nepali Congress), former Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali (CPN-UML), and former Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav (Janata Samajbadi Party) were present in the discussion.
Similarly, NPI Chairman Dhakal said that Nepalis living abroad wanted to understand the political position regarding the right to exercise their voting right. NPI's study found that there was no legal hassle in 'e-voting' and that it is easier to manage. Citing the recently published NPI policy summary, he said that the assistance of international independent organizations could also be sought to ensure easy access, legitimacy and security for the vote.