KATHMANDU, Jan 11: The Election Commission (EC) has become virtually dysfunctional from Friday with the outgoing Acting Chief Election Commissioner Dolakh Bahadur Gurung and Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav retiring without delegating any major powers to the EC secretary.
According to EC officials, Gurung and Yadav refused to delegate powers to the secretary arguing that they would be blamed for any possible unpleasant situation if the government conducted fresh polls in the absence of EC commissioners.
“We have paved the road for the conduct of regular works of the EC," said Gurung addressing a press conference at the EC office on Thursday afternoon.
Similarly, Yadav said that they have taken 11 various decisions in order to help the constitutional body carry out regular administrative works.
“The EC will not face any problems in carrying out the regular works as we have delegated necessary powers to the concerned officials,” he added.
Gurung stated that in the absence of chief commissioner and commissioners, the EC cannot formulate any policy, register a new political party and resolve dispute regarding legitimacy of parties.
Similarly, the constitutional body cannot launch a new program, conduct pre-electoral activities, take action against parties, issue directives to parties and reach at any agreement with donor agencies.
Addressing the press conference, Yadav said they felt sorry for the situation in the EC. "We are very sad about this state of affairs. We had repeatedly drawn the attention of the president and the prime minister to the impending vacuum in the EC,” he added.
When asked about possibility of conducting fresh elections in absence of commissioners, Gurung said, "It is impossible.´´
He stated the new commissioners, who will be appointed in the days to come, should have to learn a lot if the government decided to hold elections in May or June. “New comers will not have experience. So, they will have to learn a lot prior to conducting polls,” Gurung maintained.
Former Chief Election Commissioner Bhojraj Pokhrel had resigned from his post after Constituent Assembly (CA) elections in 2008 while Acting Chief Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety and Commissioner Usha Nepal have already retired from their posts.
As per the interim constitution, there must be a chief election commissioner and four other commissioners in the EC.
The present caretaker government cannot appoint the chief election commissioner and the commissioners in absence of parliament.