EVMs essential to conduct both elections together: EC; Endowing EC with jurisdiction to set poll date could be consulted: Home Minister Sharma

Election Commission

Kathmandu / Aug. 07:Election Commission (EC) officials have underscored the need for using electronic voting machines if the elections of both federal assembly and parliament are to be conducted together.

The EC officials said so during a meeting with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at the latter’s office in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu on Monday.

At the meeting, PM Deuba advised the EC officials to make preparations for holding both the elections together in order to curb the costs of elections and to conduct the elections within the deadline as provisioned in the constitution.

PM Deuba urged EC officials to get ready for the elections saying that two election-related acts are in the process of endorsement from Parliament, and Constitution Delimitation Commission is also likely to submit its report within the deadline.

Meanwhile, EC officials told the PM that it would be easy to manage the elections if federal and provincial elections were held separately. They also said that if both the elections were to be held together, electronic voting machines should be used for the purpose.

In response, PM Deuba told the EC officials that the government is running short of time for procuring electronic voting machines and to impart necessary training on its usage.

According to a statement issued by the EC, PM was positive about using electronic voting machines.

It is learnt that EC officials asked the PM whether to grant the right to reject to the voters. The meeting also held discussions on granting voting rights to Nepalis living abroad.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, EC commissioners Ila Sharma, Narendra Dahal, Ishwori Prasad Poudyal, Sudhir Kumar Sah and EC secretary Maheshwor Neupane were present in the meeting.

Endowing EC with jurisdiction to set poll date could be consulted: Home Minister Sharma
Meanwhile, Home Minister Janardan Sharma today said consultations could be held on the issue of investing the Election Commission with authority to setting election date.

“The existing provision holds that the Government of Nepal is tasked with setting election date in consultation with the EC, and it does not mean that vice-versa is not possible. But keeping in view of security arrangement, the government sets poll date, and it does not mean to belittle the role of the EC in it,” said Sharma.

He was attending a meeting of the State Affairs Committee under the Legislature-Parliament to hold deliberations on the Bill providing for election of the member of the state assembly -2017.

He also informed that the government was thinking about holding provincial elections in a single phase as far as possible.

On creating environment for Nepalis residing abroad to vote, Minister Sharma said the government was positive about the issue.

At the meeting, lawmakers proposed an amendment to various 35 clauses of the Bill. Also, Chief Election Commissioner Dr Ayodhi Prasad Yadav demanded that the commission be endowed with jurisdiction to set election date while reasoning that autonomy of the Commission would be called into question for lack of such authority.

He also suggested adopting full proportional system to save costs for holding elections. The next meeting to deliberate additionally on the Bill will convene on August 9 at 11 am. RSS

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