KATHMANDU, September 10: The Election Commission (EC) has called on international poll observing groups wishing to monitor Nepal's coming provincial and parliamentary elections to submit applications by September 30.
The election body, which had barred foreign observers from monitoring the recent local elections, has issued a public notice urging international poll observers to apply if they wish to observe the upcoming elections. "Poll observers can now apply for monitoring the upcoming elections. Apart from poll observers we are inviting member countries of FEMBoSA and election professionals from other countries on our own," said Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav.
Ahead of the local elections, several poll observers including the US and UK embassies in Kathmandu mounted pressure on the election body to let their officials monitor the elections independently. The election body, however, barred them from going outside Kathmandu Valley during the first round elections. But it was agreed to allow officials of Kathmandu-based diplomatic missions in select areas. Foreign Ministry officials were deployed together with them.
The EC had defended its move to bar diplomats from observing the elections, saying there was no practice of involving international observers and officials of diplomatic missions in previous local elections. This time, the election body has invited the poll observer groups on its own.
Poll observer groups interested in monitoring the Nepal elections should furnish their declarations and pledges and copies of any publications related to election observation, before getting accreditation from the election body. Such applications, according to an election official, can be made online.
Informed election officials said some international poll observing groups like the Carter Center and Asian Network for Free Election (ANFREL) have expressed interest in being part of Nepal's poll observation. In the 2013 Constituent Assembly elections a total of 18,222 observers from 54 poll monitoring groups received accreditation.
Of the total 54 poll observing groups, three monitoring groups--Carter Center, European Union and ANFREL-- were internationals while the remaining were national groups. Only 235 short-term and long-term poll observers were deployed by the international poll observing groups.