EC chief: No chance of backtracking

April 13, 2017 02:18 AM Bhadra Sharma

KATHMANDU, April 11: Amid growing differences between political parties over conducting the local-level elections on the stipulated date, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Ayodhee Prasad Yadav has said the election body is committed to conducting the elections on May 14 and there's no chance of backtracking.

"We are firmly committed to conducting the local elections on May 14. And there will be no compromise," Yadav told Republica when asked whether the polls could be affected amid growing political polarization. 

A day after the government tabled a new constitution amendment bill in the parliament in a bid to bring onboard the disgruntled forces, including the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), the latter decided to boycott and obstruct the elections if the commission conducted the polls forcibly.

Stating the poll preparations have reached their final stages, Yadav said the EC will move ahead irrespective of the political development. "We've reached the point of no return. We will conduct the polls wherever it's possible," said the election chief Yadav.

The election chief said during his recent three-day visit to Hetauda, Sindhuli and Biratnagar, he found people desperate to participate in the elections taking place after almost two decades. "Stage is almost set for the polls. Now, we cannot look back, or decide against the election," he said.

After completing its technical, logistical and administrative preparations, the EC is now busy in training chief returning officers and returning officers. Returning officers, who are responsible for overseeing the elections at the local level, will begin ground works for the polls in districts after the training completes on Thursday. 

"Their mobilization to local units will create election environment encouraging parties to participate in the elections," said election commissioner Narendra Dahal. 

The EC plans to complete the printing of ballot papers, voter roll, voter identity cards, among others, within a week. The materials will be delivered to local units as soon as the offices of chief returning officers are set up in the districts. "The offices of returning officers will be established in all districts on April 16. Then, ground-level poll preparations will be expedited in full swing," said Dahal.

Asked whether the polls will be deferred in Province 2, Dahal ruled out any such possibility. "Even the security officers and election officers attending the training are firm about conducting election. So there's no plan B in our minds," he said.

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