Nepali election commission to speed up for by-polls

By Xinhua,

Kathmandu : Election Commission (EC) of Nepal plans to expedite voter re-registration and updating process in six election constituencies where by-elections for Constituent Assembly (CA) are scheduled to be held, local newspaper The Kathmandu Post reported Tuesday.

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According to an EC official, the electoral rolls updating process will begin mid-December immediately after the ongoing Legislature-Parliament session amends the Interim Constitution in accordance with the government’s decision.

The government has already tabled the amendment bill in the parliament in order to ensure voting rights for around 43,000 (10 percent) more people in the related constituencies, who completed 18 years of age on April 12, 2008, in the upcoming by-elections.

By-elections are to be held in Dhanusha-5, Morang-5 and 7, Kaski-1, Rolpa-2 and Kanchanpur-4.

Dhanusha-5 became vacant because President Ram Baran Yadav resigned from the Constituent Assembly after being elected the president. Madheshi People’s Rights Forum’s Upendra Yadav and Bijay Kumar Gachhedar vacated the seats in Morang because they wonin other constituencies in the first-past-the-poll elections heldin April 10. Similarly, Chairman of the ruling party the CommunistParty of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) Pushpa Kamal Dahal known as Prachanda, another CPN-M leader Dev Gurung and Sher Bahadur Deuba of the opposition party Nepali Congress vacated their seats in Rolpa, Kaski and Kanchanpur respectively.

The existing provisions in the Interim Constitution and laws governing CA elections allow only those who have completed 18 years of age on or before Dec. 15, 2006 to exercise the vote in the by-elections.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Neil Kantha Upreti on Monday left for Jordan leading an EC delegation to study the voter registration process and issuance of voter identity cards system there. The delegation will also visit Israel and Palestine before returning home on Dec. 5.