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Difficult to hold election on time, says Nepal poll official

Polls will not take place in June due to a lack of security in some areas of Nepal.

world Updated: Apr 06, 2007 11:32 IST

Nepal's top election official said on Friday that it will be difficult to hold elections in June as scheduled, largely due to a lack of security in some areas.

Chief Election Commissioner Bhojraj Pokhrel's remark comes a week after ruling political parties met with former rebels, who fought a 10-year rebellion to try to make Nepal communist and signed a peace deal with the government in November last year.

The ruling parties and former rebels had agreed at the meeting to hold June 20 elections for an assembly, which will re-write the constitution and decide what type of political system Nepal, a longtime constitutional monarchy, will have in the future.

But Pokhrel said more time is needed to prepare for the polls.

"There are three things we need - security, political settlement and technical preparation for the polls - which we still don't have," he said on Friday.

"We could be facing a difficult situation later if we try holding elections in a hurry."

He said security was inadequate in areas including southern Nepal, where residents have held violent protests in recent months to demand more rights.

Election officials in such areas face difficulties in collecting names for the voters' list, Pokhrel said.

Although the government has yet to officially announce the June 20 election date, the ruling parties have said that they will stick to it -- and that changing it is not currently an option.

Maoist rebels gave up their armed revolt last year to join a peace process, under which they signed a deal, and confined their fighters and weapons in UN-monitored camps.

They joined Parliament earlier this year, and on Sunday became part of an interim government.