KATHMANDU, Jan 6: The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday said that it might take at least two months to print the ballot papers for the local elections if additional printing machines are not arranged for Janak Sikshya Samagri Kendra (JSSK).
After holding consultations with the officials of JSSK and Education Secretary Shanta Kumar Shrestha, is also the chairperson of JSSK, the Election Commission has reached to the conclusion that printing of ballot papers will not get accomplished in less than two months. It has also stressed the need of seeking alternatives for printing the ballot papers in time.
"Printing ballot papers will not be easy unless we purchase new machines or seek alternatives to expedite the ballot printing process," said Election Commissioner Ila Sharma.
Till date, the state-run JSSK is printing ballot papers for the Election Commission. Currently, the JSSK has three machines and the election body believes that printing the ballot papers may take two months unless additional printing machines are arranged for it.
Printing ballot papers, according to Sharma, will take time as a large number of parties are registered with the commission. Currently, 110 parties are registered with the election body and it believes that the ballot papers will be larger than three feet even if 50 parties contest in the elections.
"Assessing the number of parties contesting in the election remains a crucial issue for us from the perspective of managing elections. That's why we are in the process of getting the tentative number of parties prepared to go for elections," said Sharma.
The EC, which has already ruled out the possibility of conducting the elections in April, says that the polls can be held in May and June if the government clears legal and administrative hurdles lying ahead of the commission.
The constitution has set January 21, 2018 as the deadline to conduct three sets of elections -- local, provincial and federal. But the parties are at odds over how to resolve disputes over the number of local government and bills related to local government.