KATHMANDU, MARCH 11
The Election Commission held a meeting with the parties and informed them of its decision to set a cap of Rs 7.5 lakh on election expenses for a candidate vying for the position of mayor or deputy mayor of a metropolitan city . The local polls will be held in a single phase on May 13.
The polling panel also set a spending cap of Rs 5.5 lakh for those vying for the positions of mayor and deputy mayor of sub-metropolitan cities.
Those contesting the posts of chiefs and deputy chiefs of municipalities and rural municipalities should limit their election expenses to Rs 450,000 and Rs 350,000, respectively, the EC has said.
Democratic Socialist Party-Nepal representative Keshav Jha said he is proposing that the EC should impose a cap of Rs 50 million on mayoral candidates in metropolitan cities keeping in mind the reality on the ground.
“Everyone knows that polls are expensive.
Unless laws and policies are realistic, parties and candidates will conceal their actual spending,”
Jha said. He said the EC tried to assure the representatives that it would act against the candidates if they submitted false reports. “But how can we be sure of the EC’s action? It did not act against a candidate who did not submit details of actual ballot expenses,” Jha said. He said party officials agreed the electoral system was flawed.
“To control election spending, the country must opt for a fully proportional electoral system,” he said.
When asked if the EC would revise its decision on election spending limits, EC spokesperson Shaligram Sharma Paudel said he did not know if the EC would revise its decision, but that the decision would remain valid unless amended by the EC.
Paudel said voters who reach franchise age – 18 – on May 12 would be eligible to vote in local elections. This deadline should allow 200,000 additional voters to vote.
The EC told party representatives that it could only grant one electoral symbol per party to six national parties, but fringe parties opposed the EC’s proposal. Some new parties have said that if they were deprived of an electoral symbol for their candidates, it would be unfair.
They also opposed the voting threshold. EC told them that, according to the laws, only parties that reached the voting threshold could be recognized as national parties and that all their candidates could obtain an electoral symbol.
EC spokeswoman Shaligram Sharma Paudel said party representatives have urged the EC to form a cyber office to monitor and prevent attempts by some to use social networking sites to engage in defamation .
Lawyer Baburam Dahal, who represented the CPN-UML, said that the UML leaders who split the parent party from the CPN (Unified Socialist) cannot gain recognition as a separate party because the ordinance which facilitated the split in the party has already been reversed by the president. .
He also opposed the decision of the EC to use green ballot papers for local elections.
He said that in recent local, provincial and parliamentary elections, the voting committee used blue, red, green and black ballot papers.
• 79 parties in the running for the local elections
• 17,834,765 electors to exercise their right to vote
• 9,048,213 men to vote
• 717,067: the number of voters in Morang, the highest of all the districts
• 640,058: the number of voters in Kathmandu
A version of this article appears in the March 12, 2022 printing of The Himalayan Times