Thursday, 25 February, 2021

Revision Of Poll Code

With dates for the upcoming mid-term parliamentary elections nearing, the Election Commission (EC) has begun making necessary preparations for it. The election management body is now in the process of revising the existing election code of conduct. It is needless to say that an effective code of conduct is part and parcel of holding polls in a free, fair, impartial, transparent and credible manner. The election code is a set of rules and guidelines to be followed by political parties, candidates, voters, the media, and employees and security forces deployed. This is also required to be pursued by other stakeholders like government bodies, non-governmental organisations and observers. A fair and credible election alone can help increase people's participation in the governance system. It also enhances the state's legality and trustworthiness. More voters could turn out during elections only when they are confident that the EC holds polls in a free and fair manner. Thus, it is natural for the election management body to be much concerned about how elections can be made more dignified and credible.

According to a news report published in this daily on Monday, the EC held a meeting with representatives of different political parties representing in the federal, provincial and local levels in regard with revising the election code of conduct. The EC received some practical suggestions from the political parties attending the meeting. The remaining political forces were urged to send their suggestions to the EC by Monday. The consultation was mostly focussed on the election codes to be followed by the political parties, their sister organisations and candidates. The parties attending the meeting called the EC for effectively enforcing the election code of conduct. In addition, they urged the election management body to ensure that observers and monitoring committees are more effective in carrying out their responsibilities. They also suggested making election expenses of the political parties transparent.

The EC aims to approve the revised code of conduct on the basis of the recommendations made by the political parties. It wants to manage the shortcomings experienced in the past by modifying the election code. It is also essential for the EC to have a model code of conduct framed in line with the international best practices and the lessons learnt from the past elections. The EC should also consult experts on this significant matter. Meanwhile, the EC is going to start the process of registering parties for the coming parliamentary elections in the near future.

However, the election management body is required to resolve the issue related to the Nepal Communist Party (NCP)’s legitimacy before forwarding the electoral process. Officials at the EC said since they were studying the petitions filed by the both factions of the CPN rigorously, they would decide on the issue at the earliest. Hearings on the writs filed against the dissolution of the House of Representatives at the Supreme Court (SC) have also been taking place. The apex court is likely to give its verdict on the matter by the end of this month (February). It is noteworthy that the election management body is committed to holding the elections as scheduled. 

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