Students protest against dissolution of parliament in Kathmandu (AFP archive photo)
KATHMANDU: Nepal’s election commission is preparing for the midterm elections in November despite uncertainty over opinion polls due to pending reports to the Supreme Court against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, according to a media report.
On the recommendation of KP Prime Minister Sharma Oli, President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the lower house for the second time in five months on May 22nd and announced early elections on November 12th and November 19th.
Prime Minister Olli heads minority government after losing no-confidence vote in 275-member House
The constitutionality of the President’s move is being heard in the Supreme Court, raising the question of whether the elections will be held on set dates.
However, Nepal’s Electoral Commission said it would start procuring the material needed to conduct the polls next week after the finance ministry approved 7.72 Nepalese rupees for the election, The Kathmandu Post reported.
The ministry said it had approved the budget for the supply of election material and election management. This budget, however, does not cover the cost of ballot box security arrangements.
“We plan to call a tender next week for all the goods needed to run in the election, except for a sufficient number of ballot boxes,” said Raj Kumar Shrestha, a commission spokesman.
Electoral officials say that although the case of dissolving Parliament is being challenged in the Supreme Court, the commission cannot say no to holding elections.
The committee is currently preparing specifications for more than 50 types of goods to be procured.
Some of the items that the electorate intends to procure are ballot stickers, ID cards, poll books, security stamps, rubber, ballot stamps, markers, stamp and ink, polyethylene bag and hut, photocopy paper. glue, stapling machines, scales and scissors and pens.
“Apart from these materials, we will also supply medical products taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Komal Dhamala, the commission’s assistant spokesman.
The committee also updates voter lists in various areas.
“More voters will be added for the November elections,” Damala said.
According to him, there will be about 22,000 polling stations for the upcoming elections.
Taking into account the health risks posed by COVID-19, the committee is also preparing health and safety guidelines to make the electoral process safer.
Some health officials have predicted that a third wave of COVID-19 could hit the country at the same time as the election. Electoral officials acknowledge the danger and plan various measures to prevent the election from turning into a show of force.
“Through a code of conduct, we can limit people’s participation in the assembly of political parties,” Damala said.
While the commission is making logistical preparations, the political situation remains fragile for elections.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is likely to issue its ruling on the dissolution of the House of Representatives next week, and the petitioners and defendants have completed their arguments, myrepublica reported.
About 30 petitions have been filed against the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Olli issued an ultimatum to the party led by Nepal’s Madawah Kumar to withdraw the signatures on the written petition submitted to the Supreme Court, requesting the reinstatement of the House of Representatives and the appointment of Nepal Congress President Sir Bahtur as Prime Minister.
Nepal plunged into political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced new elections on April 30 and May 10 following the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli amid a power struggle within Nepal’s ruling Communist Party. NCP). In February, the Supreme Court reinstated the dissolution of the House of Representatives in a coup to fight Prime Minister Olli, who was preparing for elections.
Ollie has repeatedly defended his move to dissolve the House of Representatives, saying some of his party leaders were trying to form a “parallel government”.