In The Midst Of Polls

THE nation is in the midst of an election year, following the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015. The new charter has envisioned a three-tier government under the democratic federal republic established on the strength of Janaandolan II in 2006. To implement the constitution, the country must conduct three-level polls - local, provincial and federal – by January 2018. The two phases of the local level polls have already been conducted in a significant move to cement the new federal set-up. The third phase of the local election is being held in Province No. 2 in less than a week. As the political parties and their candidates are busy canvassing for votes in the said province, the Election Commission the other day announced the poll calendar of the elections to the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies to be held together in two phases on November 26 and December 7. As per the timetable, the political parties will have to submit their closed lists at the EC headquarters for the proportional representation system on October 15. After completing all procedures, the EC will make public the final PR list on November 19. Likewise, candidates fighting in the poll under the first-past-the-post category for the first phase of the provincial and federal election will file their nominations on October 22. The EC has set November 2 for registering the candidacy under the second phase for the two elections. With the completion of this two-tier election, the election cycle comes to a close for five years. They will be a milestone in putting the fledgling republic on a robust path.
Meanwhile, the EC chief Dr Ayodhee Prasad Yadav has instructed the government to mobilise security agencies in a coordinated manner so as to ensure safety to the voters and candidates during the local level election in Province No. 2. This province has been a hotbed of national politics. Therefore, it demands greater administrative and political attention. This entails a number of security measures aimed at holding the polls in a peaceful and fair environment. The security forces need to seal the border and check the voters entering the polling booths on the day of the election. They must not forget to arrange adequate number of rescue teams at the polling centres. They should keep a watchful eye on the cadres of the political parties who may come into conflict during the hustings. In addition to the arrangement of strong and reliable security, the EC should keep vigil on the behaviour of the government, political parties and candidates to make sure that they abide by the code of conduct during the election. As an autonomous body, the EC has spared no effort when it comes to conducting the polls in an impartial and peaceful way. It has also criticised the recent expansion of the cabinet, stating that this can negatively affect the election. The onus is on the government to hold the election in a free, fair and peaceful manner. The government provides necessary bureaucratic, logistic and financial support to the EC to accomplish its task. Thus, the EC’s reservation about the induction of new faces to the cabinet is rational. It is high time all stakeholders concerned worked in close cooperation and coordination to make the elections a grand success.

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