KATHMANDU, Aug 17: The Election Commission (EC) and the major political parties have agreed to conduct the provincial and parliamentary elections on the same day, by November 23.
A trilateral meeting of election commissioners, ruling and opposition parties on Thursday reached an understanding to conduct both the elections by November 23 in a bid to avoid constitutional crisis. “Both the elections will be conducted on the same day, by November 23,” said election commissioner Narendra Dahal after the meeting.
Informed leaders say the poll date is likely to be announced after Saturday.
Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel said date for both the elections is likely to be fixed for November 20. “We will finalize the poll date after having final discussions among the parties,” said Poudel.
EC Commissioner Dahal said the government is free to announce the poll date soon after the voter registration campaign concludes.
“The voter registration campaign is concluding on Saturday. The poll date can be announced after that,” said Commissioner Dahal.
The constitution has a provision to conclude all three sets of elections - local, provincial and federal - within 21 January 2018.
So far, the EC has conducted local polls across the country except in province 2. Third round of local polls for eight districts of Province 2 is scheduled for September 18.
Altogether 165 members of central parliament and 330 members of provincial assemblies will be elected under the first-past-the-post electoral system.
Considering the limited time left to conclude two crucial elections and huge poll expenditures, the political parties have proposed conducting both the elections on the same day. The election body, which was earlier reluctant to do so citing technical glitches, agreed to conduct both the elections on the same day as suggested by the political parties.
At the meeting, election commissioners urged the political parties to finalize laws related to provincial and parliamentary elections and report of the constituency delineation commission at the earliest and sincerely abide by the election code of conduct. Despite repeated request by the EC, the government is yet to finalize electoral laws for holding provincial and central parliamentary elections. Similarly, the report of constituency delineation commission, too, is yet to be finalized.