Nepal EC spends Rs 515 million polls preparation

By NNN-Nepal News

Kathmandu : The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday said an amount to the tune of Rs 515 million (US$7.23 million) was spent in the preparation for the Constituent Assembly (CA) election.

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Unveiling a detailed report on the expenditure incurred in the run up to the polls at a press conference organized at the EC office Tuesday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Bhoj Raj Pokharel said out of Rs 1.28 billion allocated in fiscal year 2006/07, the Commission spent Rs 234 million to update the electoral rolls and out of Rs 287.1 million released by the government in fiscal year 2007/08 from its annual budget of Rs 1.911 billion, the Commission spent Rs 118 million. He also said that Rs 281 million were spent at the center and district level to date.( Rs 1=0.01407 usd)

CEC Pokharel said that the amount received from the government for election purposes was spent in voters’ education programmes, training (for staffs and volunteers), publicity campaigns, institutional capacity building, several logistic items for election, transportation, establishment of media centers including monitoring purposes, among others.

“We were making all the necessary preparation to hold the CA election successfully after the acts and regulations related to election had come” Pokharel said in the press conference, adding, ”if the government doesn’t adopt a different electoral system, some logistical items and documents prepared for the mixed electoral can come into use later also.”

Pokharel said that although the Commission is yet to work out the exact figures on wasted goods and items, he said the budget meant for institutional capacity building and several logistics items can be used in future no matter what kind of electoral system the government decides to adopt.

He further said that the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction had released Rs 121 million from its Peace Trust Fund in order to carry out voters’ education programs by mobilizing over 8,400 volunteers. It had also released an additional Rs 118 million to train over 234,025 staff and volunteers needed to conduct the polls.

According to CEC Pokharel, various foreign countries including international donor agencies had provided technical and logistic assistance worth Rs 540 million. The donors had provided ballot boxes, vehicles and various other logistics items.

Similarly, 24 non-government organisations had received Rs 162 million from different foreign donors to launch media and voter education campaign across the country.

Two weeks ago, the EC had cancelled all poll programmes on the request of the government after the seven parties had decided to suspend the Constituent Assembly (CA) election.