EC wants legal hurdles removed by next week to hold polls by mid-May
KATHMANDU, Dec 25: At a time when the government has been reiterating that it will conduct fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) polls by mid-May, the Election Commission (EC) has made it clear that it would be unable to hold the polls if legal hurdles, among other concerns raised by the constitutional body, were not addressed by next week.
At a meeting with top leaders of CPN-UML held at the EC office in the capital on Monday, Acting Chief Election Commissioner Dolakh Bahadur Gurung and Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav urged political parties to forge consensus on issues related to holding CA polls.
"If you want to conduct CA polls by mid-May [as announced by the government], we urge you all to forge consensus at the earliest," Yadav said at the meeting.
The EC officials said legal and constitutional hurdles should be removed by next week. They also said the vacant positions at EC should be filled and political parties should fix the date for election through consensus.
"The government has only said that it will conduct CA polls by mid-May but we need a specific date so that we can start preparations for conducting the polls," he added.
Acting Chief Election Commissioner Gurung and Commissioner Yadav said they would need 120 days to prepare for the polls after the legal hurdles are cleared.
They also made it clear that it would be difficult to print ballot papers and use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) if the constitutional body is not given sufficient time to prepare for the polls in accordance with existing laws.
The EC officials said they also need time to update the voters´ list and register absentee.
A senior EC official said that the constitutional body would not be able to take any decision if the political parties failed to forge consensus by next week as Acting Chief Election Commissioner Gurung and Commissioner Yadav will retire by the second week of January. The terms of both Gurung and Yadav will expire on January 11, while the posts of chief election commissioner and two commissioners at EC are already lying vacant.
At the meeting, Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal said the political parties are likely to forge consensus on holding CA polls within four or five days. "The parties are close to consensus, I hope it will materialize within four or five days," he added.