Monday, February 12, 2007

Decide quick on electoral law: EC chief

The Election Commission has said that complexities will arise in holding the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections in time if immediate decision is not taken by the political parties on the laws and electoral system.There is a constitutional arrangement and declared commitment of the eight political parties to hold the CA elections by mid-June this year.
Chief Election Commissioner Bhojraj Pokhrel at a programme organised by the commission to inform about the preparations being made on the election, to the top leaders of the eight and other political parties, complained that there still remains the lack of laws and guidelines on the election. He said the government, parliament and political parties need to give attention on immediately issuing the acts and regulations on election.
EC said it has submitted the draft of the Election Commission Act, the Election Offence and Punishment Act and the CA Court Act to the government and the CA Member Election Act and the Political Parties Act drafts are in the preliminary phase.He said there is a compulsion to prepare 25 kinds of guidelines and five regulations of 1,000 pages after the preparation of the acts.The EC has made a schedule to end the works of the approval of the acts by February 17 and to hold the election on the final week of mid-June. According to the preliminary data, the number of voters has increased by 15 percent and reached 15. 3 million and there is no situation to collect names of temporary voters because of the existing structures.
Pokhrel called on the political parties to amend the voters' act to resolve the problems seen in the collection of temporary voters. There will be 11,500 polling centres and 6,000 additional sub-centres for the election. The semi-transparent plastic ballot boxes will be used, and discussion will be made on using electronic voting in some limited town areas. The EC needs 140,000 employees for the elections to hold on a single day, and needs Rs. two billion, 780 million for the collection of voters lists and elections.The commission has so far invited the UN, SAARC Election Commissions, Carter Centre of USA, European Union, and Japan, and that some Asian and African countries' governments, institutions, national observers and diplomatic missions will also be written for it.The EC also called for stopping public hindrance to the election programme and high priority from all sectors and speedy fixing of the date of the election.

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