KATHMANDU, Feb 28: At a time when political parties are trying to forge consensus on holding fresh polls by mid June, officials at the Election Commission (EC) have ruled out any possibility of conducting election in the given time.
“Now, there is no place to compromise despite our flexibility to hold polls by mid-June,” said an EC official on condition of anonymity, adding, the given time is not sufficient.
The constitutional body had prepared a 92-day plan to conduct polls and has said that polls can be held by mid-June if necessary legal and constitutional hurdles were removed by earlier this week.
“It is very difficult to conduct polls by mid-June but we are still doing our best to make this possible,” EC Spokesperson Anil Kumar Thakur told Republica.
The government is yet to appoint chief election commissioner and other election commissioners.
EC officials said besides removing legal and constitutional difficulties, EC needs about five weeks to publish ballot papers, four to five weeks to update electoral rolls, and a month to register political parties, among other things.
“Before we publish ballot papers, we must finalize the number of political parties to participate in the polls. Besides, Janak Educational Material Centre needs additional time for maintenance of machines,” stated the EC official, adding, “So, it does not seem possible to accomplish all these tasks in the given time.”
Another EC official who also preferred anonymity said it would not be possible to review the number of election constituencies in accordance with the latest census by mid-June.
EC has said Acts on Election Commission and election to the Constituent Assembly should be amended in order to hold fresh polls.
Article 63 (7) of the Interim Constitution states that for the purpose of the election to the Constituent Assembly, every citizen of Nepal who has attained the age of eighteen years on or before 15 December 2007 shall be entitled to vote, as provided in the law.
EC official stressed the need for amending Article 63 (7) stating that even eligible voters would be deprived of their voting rights as hundreds of thousands have not registered in the new voters´ list.
Also, Article 142 (5) of the interim constitution needs to be amended as the article states that a petition with the support and signature of at least 10,000 voters shall be required for registration of a new party and the provision shall not apply to the parties represented in the Interim Legislature Parliament. Currently, the Interim Legislature Parliament is no more in existence.
Similarly, Article 63 (3) (a) states that the members elected on the basis of first-past-the-post electoral system consisting of one member from each of the 240 election constituencies delimited by the Election Constituency Delimitation Commission constituted pursuant to Article 154 A, based on the population fixed by the national census preceding the election of the Constituent Assembly, while treating an administrative district as an elected district, and, as far as possible, maintaining the same proportionality between such districts and the number of members.