KATHMANDU, Nov 24: The silent period for the first round of parliamentary and provincial assembly elections began from Thursday mid-night, barring political parties and candidates from organizing election campaigns.
As part of normalizing the heated election campaigns and let the voters decide their choice of candidates, the election body enforces a silent period of 48 hours before the voting period begins.
All candidates and other stakeholders must stay away from holding election symbols and publicity materials should not be pasted within a periphery of 300 meters from the polling centers. Similarly, all concerned must comply with the election code of conduct by not using materials such as clothes, caps, stickers, logos, bags, towels and tattoos which carry election symbols of poll candidates during the silence period.
Similarly, the use of social networking sites and electronic media for publicity campaigns and wooing voters is strictly forbidden. The EC has warned of action against those who violate the poll code. If any candidate or party breaches the silent period, the EC can impose a fine of Rs 100,000 in cash along with the cancellation of his or her candidacy.
“Parties can continue their publicity campaigns in the districts other than those where the first round of election is taking place. But the media should strictly abide by the silent period as news content produced from any constituency can reach everywhere,” said Election Commissioner Sudhir Kumar Shah.
Just ahead of the beginning of the silent period, senior leaders were busy addressing poll rallies in their last-ditch effort to woo voters. For example, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is also the president of the ruling Nepali Congress, toured districts of the mid-western region and addressed rallies in Kalikot, Rukum and Rolpa districts.
Similarly, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli addressed poll rallies organized in Surkhet and Dailekh districts. Like their party chiefs, the senior leaders of the major parties and candidates were busy convincing voters throughout the day on Thursday.
Stage set for polls: EC
Election commissioners have said that all preparations for the first round of elections have been completed while preparations for the second round of elections are about to complete. “Polling centers are being set up on the ground. We have already supplied all the essentials for conducting the polls,” said Election Commissioner Narendra Dahal.
The EC is conducting the first round of parliamentary and provincial elections in 37 electoral constituencies of 32 districts. EC has already printed ballot papers for the second round of elections to be held in the remaining districts and poll logistics together with ballot papers are being transported to the districts. “Except for the few districts close to the capital, ballot papers and other logistics have already been supplied. We will complete transportation-related works before Sunday,” said Commissioner Dahal.