KATHMANDU, June 25: In view of the June 28 local elections, the Election Commission (EC) has enforced the silent period from Sunday mid-night, barring political parties from conducting poll campaigns.
The election law allows the election body to enforce the silent period 48 hours before the voting day. After the first round of elections in 283 local units of provinces 3, 4 and 6, the election body is conducting polls in provinces 1, 5 and 7 on June 28. The polls in Province 2 are slated for September 18.
"The parties cannot conduct any sort of publicity campaigns from mid-night today until voting completes," said EC Spokesperson Surya Prasad Sharma, adding, "The parties have also been strictly asked not to post any publicity materials on social media."
The Local Level Election Directive-2017 has a provision to enforce the silent period considering that it could help to avoid possible confrontation among the parties. "It also gives the voters enough time to think and decide who to vote for," said Spokesperson Sharma.
Poll officers utilize the silent period as an opportunity to complete remaining poll preparations and set up polling centers by holding all-party meetings in their respective working areas. As many as 67,000 civil servants have already been deployed to 334 local units of 35 districts and except fixing polling centers, all the poll preparations have been completed.
"The only remaining task for the poll officers is holding an all-party meeting at the local level and building polling centers. They will also educate the voters about the technical aspects of voting so that there will be fewer invalid votes," said Spokesperson Sharma.
Poll officers have started to distribute voter ID cards from Sunday and the distribution process will continue till Tuesday.
The EC has urged the voters to collect their cards from their respective polling centers within the given deadline. However, the voters can cast their votes with the help of their citizenship certificates or voter ID cards distributed in 2013's Constituent Assembly elections as well if they fail to collect the latest cards.
Chiefs and deputy chiefs of municipalities and rural municipalities and ward committees will be elected in the elections. Altogether 62,240 candidates from political parties and independent individuals are contesting for 15,038 posts. Of them, 38 individuals have already been elected unopposed.
As many as 163,000 security personnel from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department, temporary police and Nepal Army have been mobilized to ensure poll security. Election materials have already been dispatched to local election offices.
Similarly, 6,500 domestic observers have been deployed for poll observation. This time, the EC has also allowed representatives of the diplomatic missions in Kathmandu to go outside Kathmandu and visit selected polling centers.
Second phase elections in number
Local units: 334
Civil servants deployed in elections: 67,000
Unopposed elected: 38
Security personnel: 163,000
Domestic poll observers: 6,500