Uncertainty looms over Nepal polls due in June

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 23:45

Kathmandu: Casting doubts over the June 21 deadline for polls, Nepal`s newly-appointed electoral chief has asked the government to set a `realistic` polling date to avoid any postponement of the long-delayed Constituent Assembly elections.

A day after assuming the leadership of the Election Commission, Chief Election Commissioner Nilkantha Uprety called upon political parties to help create a conducive atmosphere for elections.

Talking to a national daily, he pointed out that the government should fix a `realistic` election date instead of any decision that would lead to the postponement of the polls to the 601-seat Constituent Assembly.

The Chief Election Commissioner`s statement comes amid speculation that the elections, which the four major political forces agreed to conduct by June 21 in the 11-point agreement signed on March 13, might be postponed till November.

Talking to The Kathmandu Post yesterday, Uprety informed that the commission would soon submit a timeframe it requires for electoral preparation and expressed hope that a realistic voting date would be decided by the government.

"With only 70-75 days at our hands, we are not in an easy situation. Rather than frustrating people by announcing the date of election and postponing it at the last moment, I hope we will take an intelligent decision," he said.

Uprety said the government and the parties should expedite their work to address legal, political and administrative challenges that are yet to be addressed for guaranteeing successful elections.

He pointed out that the commission would need "a minimum of 90 days" for preparation to hold elections.

Uprety said it would take at least another 10 days to make amendment to election-related laws, which would pave the way for party registration and voters roll upgradation, among others, as per the agreement between the major parties.

The election commission?so far has updated 10.11 million eligible voters out of a total of 17.6 million voters registered in 2008 elections.

According to Uprety, suitable window for holding elections in Nepal are from third week of October to third week of November and from mid-February to third week of May.

After months of intense political activity, Nepal`s major parties finally agreed on the formation of an interim election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, that was installed on March 14.

PTI




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