Election is the backbone of democracy because it is an essential democratic exercise. Holding periodic elections is essential under democratic governance. Nepal is conducting local level polls for the second time after the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015. As the nation has adopted three-tier federal structure, the local government is the lowest unit and nearest government of the people to solve their daily problems. It is important for this reason. The activities of the political parties, media and civil society organisations have shown that all stakeholders are now prepared to hold elections. Moreover, the Election Commission of Nepal has undertaken many tasks, including issuance of election code of conduct, registration of the political parties, providing election symbols to the political parties and updating of the voters list.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has informed that it has started printing ballot papers since Monday for the polls scheduled to be held on May 13. Janak Education Materials Centre Limited has been entrusted with the responsibility of printing the ballot papers. Speaking at a regular press meet, ECN spokesperson Saligaram Paudel informed the other day that the printing process of the ballot papers had started. The election body had already completed printing of 180,000 sample ballot papers and the printing of real ballot papers has begun since Monday. The ECN has already paid inspection of the situation at the centre in terms of security, machine condition and ink for the printing of ballot papers.
According to the ECN, the total number of voters who will complete 18 years of age by May 12, 2022 will be eligible to cast their votes. The number of voters stands at 177,333,723. The ECN states that a total of 19.4 million ballot papers are being printed for the local polls this time. The ECN is preparing to print extra ballot papers for remote areas. Seventy-seven types of ballot papers will be printed in 23 groups of which, the lowest group would be printed for Dolpa and the highest with 56 groups will be printed for Kathmandu. A total of 79 political parties, including six with national party recognition after the 2017 election, are taking part in the forthcoming polls.
The ECN has completed many of predatory works, including framing voters’ guideline, election training management operation guidelines and voting guidelines and vote counting guidelines. The election body has also completed interactions on election code of conduct in all provinces. These activities show that there is a conducive environment in place for the local polls. The major actors of the election are the political parties and they should also expedite works for the local polls. All the stakeholders should show their commitment for hold the elections in a free, fair and credible manner. Successful elections can alone help institutionalise the constitution and democracy. As the nation is in the constitution implementation process after the promulgation of the new federal charter in 2015, it is the need of the hour to create an election-friendly environment.