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Security is an issue: Nepal poll chief

Nepal's Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokharel warns that holding Constituent Assembly elections will be impossible if there is no improvement in the security situation, reports Anirban Roy.

world Updated: Jul 11, 2007 02:25 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times

Nepal's Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokharel on Tuesday warned that holding Constituent Assembly elections would be impossible if there is no improvement in the security situation.

Speaking at a discussion organised by the Parliamentary Special Committee for Constituent Assembly Elections Monitoring on Tuesday, Pokharel expressed great concern about the deteriorating law and order situation in Nepal particularly in the Terai region.

Due to the deteriorating law and order problem, the EC could not start the voters' education programmes and establish election offices in the 75 districts.

There are 17.6 million voters in Nepal and the EC has plans to set up over 18,000 polling and sub-polling stations across the country.

The EC is concerned about the law and order problem in the districts of Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Sarlahi, Morang, Mahottari, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa in the terai region.

Claiming that the EC has been working on a war footing on the technical aspects of the election, the CEC urged the parties, the interim parliament and the government to create a favourable situation to ensure that the polls don’t get delayed.

Earlier, the elections were scheduled to be held on June 20. However, the election could not be held as the EC, which was defunct for a long time, failed to complete the preparations.

The EC has sought help from national and international observers to monitor the elections. It has also asked the foreign embassies in Kathmandu and Nepalese embassies abroad to send neutral observers to ensure free and fair elections.

Officials of the US-based Carter Centre are already engaged in electoral reforms process in all districts. A team from the European Union has arrived in Nepal and would start working after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the EC soon.

The EC will notify names of the recognised political parties within the month of July, Pokharel said. To ensure foolproof security, the CEC and other senior officials of the EC also had meetings with the chiefs of all the security agencies.