Nepali election hangs in the balance

Chief Election Commissioner Nilkantha Uprety administering oath of office and secrecy to the election commissioners in the presence of President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav in Kathmandu (Photo : Bikash Dware)

KATHMANDU – Nepal’s Interim Election Council of Ministers led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi has appointed Chief Commissioner and four others in the Election Commission that has remained without any commissioners for the past few months.

President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav appointed the commissioners at the recommendation of the government Sunday. With the appointments of the officials in the Election Commission, chances of holding the Constituent Assembly elections within June have increased.

Moreover, newly appointed Chief Election Commissioner Nilkantha Uprety said after taking the oath of office from Acting Chief Justice Damodar Sharma in the presence of President Dr. Yadav that the elections must be held by mid-June. His remarks have encouraged the political parties because the elections could be held before the monsoon begins.

Uprety was also leading the EC as its acting chief until his retirement a few months ago. The election governing body appointed three former commissioners including Uprety and two new faces in the EC.

Dolakh Bahadur Gurung and Ayodhi Prasad Yadav, the two retired commissioners, were reappointed while Ila Sharma and Ram Bhakta Prasad Bishwakarma Thakur entered the EC as new faces.

Thakur is former diplomat and Sharma a former Journalist. Sharma’s husband, former police inspector Nawaraj Poudel was brutally killed by the Maoist in western Nepal about a decade ago.

Although the appointment has created an environment in favour of elections, the obstructions created by the CPN-Maoist (the breakaway faction of the Maoists) and the communal groups destroying the voters’ list in many parts of the country have increased suspicions about holding timely elections.

Cadres of these organizations seized key documents including laptops of the officials who reached villages to collect the voters’ lists from different parts of the country recently.

The CPN-Maoist recently decided to boycott the elections.

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