By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Oct. 18: As the date of the federal and provincial assembly elections nears, political parties and their candidates have concentrated their activities on the lower rung. That has put the issue of electoral campaign spending under discussion once again.
The Election Commission (EC), the poll authority, has been pushing for greater transparency in election-related expenditure by the parties and candidates through a strict election code of conduct, which came into effect from late September.
The EC has put a ceiling on poll expenditure for the candidates in the electoral fray after revising the past spending limits and ruled against extravagant electoral campaign.
Unlike the previous election, the EC has fixed different spending caps for the candidates of different electoral constituencies based on voter number, number of polling stations and constituency size.
In the case of the election of the HoR under first-past-the-post (FPTP) category, the maximum expenditure limit has been fixed at Rs. 3.3 million and the minimum at Rs 2.5 million.
The limit of election expenses for the HoR elections in five constituencies has been fixed at Rs. 2.5 million.
In 17 constituencies, the limit of election expenses has been fixed at Rs. 2.7 million, while candidates or parties in 65 constituencies will be allowed to spend up to Rs. 2.9 million for canvassing, the EC informed.
Similarly, in 52 constituencies, the spending limit has been fixed at Rs. 3.1 million, while in 26 constituencies, the expenditure limit has been fixed at Rs. 3.3 million
The EC has put spending caps of Rs. 3.3 million for the candidates of Taplejung-1, Panchthar-1, Sankhuwasabha-1, Solukhumbu-1, Khotang-1, Dolakha-1, Ramechhap-1, Kavrepalanchowk-1 and 2, Makwanpur-1 and 2, Gorkha-1, Lamjung-1, Arghakhachi-1, Rolpa-1, Pyuthan-1, Dang-1, Bardiya-1 and 2, Salyan-1, Dolpa-1, Humla-1, Jajarkot-1, Bajhang-1, Doti-1 and Baitadi-1.
Likewise, the poll body has fixed Rs. 3.1 million ceiling for the candidates of Ilam-1 and 2, Jhapa-2, 3 and 5, Bhojpur-1, Dhankuta-1. Morang-1, 2 and 3, Sunsari-1 and 2, Okhaldhunga-1, Udayapur-1, Sarlahi-1 and 3, Bara-1, Sindhuli-1 and 2, Dhading-1 and 2, Nuwakot-1, Sindhupalchowk-1 and 2, Chitwan-1 and 3, Kaski-3, Tanahu-1 and 2, Syangja-1, Nawalparasi (Bardaghat Susta East)-1 and 2, Myagi-1, Parbart-1, Gulmi-1, Rupandehi-1 and 5, Kapilvastu-1 and 2, Dang-2 and 3, Banke-1, Mugu-1, Jumla-1, Kalikot-1, Surkhet-1 and 2, West Rukum-1, Bajura-1, Kailali-4, Darchula-1 and Dadeldhura-1.
Similarly, the candidates of the constituencies which are allowed to spend up to Rs. 2.9 million are: Jhapa-1 and 4, Morang-4, 5 and 6, Sunsari-3 and 4, Udayapur-2, Saptari-1, 2,3 and 4, Siraha-1,2 3 and 4, Dhanusha-1, Mahottari-1,2,3 and 4, Sarlahi-2 and 4, Rautahat-1,2,3 and 4, Bara-2, 3 and 4, Parsa-4, Nuwakot-2, Bhaktapur-1, Chitwan-2, Gorkha-2, Kaski-1, Syangja-2, Mustang-1, Baglung-1 and 2, Gulmi-2, Palpa-1 and 2, Rupandehi-2, 3 and 4, Kapilvastu-3, Banke-2 and 3, Nawal
parasi (Bardhaghat Susta West)-1 and 2, Achham-2, Kailali-1,2,3 and 5 and Kanchanpur-1, 2 and 3.
Furthermore, the EC has fixed Rs. 2.7 million expenditure ceiling for the candidates of Terhathum-1, Parsa-1, 2 and 3, Rasuwa-1, Kathmandu-2, 4,5,9 and 10, Bhaktapur-2, Lalitpur-1, 2 and 3, Manag-1, Kaski-2 and East Rukum-1.
The limit of election expenditure for the candidates of Kathmandu-1, 3, 6, 7 and 8 has been fixed at Rs.2.5 million.
Likewise, the expenditure ceiling in the case of the election for the provin
cial assemblies under FPTP category has been fixed at Rs. 1.5 million in 70 constituencies, Rs. 1.7 million in
143 constituencies, Rs. 1.9 million in 56 constituencies, Rs. 2.1 million in 29 constituencies and Rs. 2.3 million in 32 constituencies.
In the past elections, the maximum amount candidates could spend in electioneering was the same across the country. Similarly, the EC has determined separate expenditure limits for the candidates under the proportional representation (PR) category.
In the election of members of the HoR under PR electoral system, the expenditure limit of the political parties is Rs. 200,000 per candidate, according to the number of candidates listed in the closed list submitted by each political party.
Such election expenses shall be spent by the political parties or candidates
participating in the HoR election for purchasing voter lists, on vehicles, electioneering materials, transportation cost, and for organising press conference for media publicity (including social media), office operations and mobilisation of party or candidate representatives.
According to EC, the political parties or candidates must mandatorily file a true account of election expense with the EC within a given time frame.
Under the Section 26 of the Election Commission Act, an incorrect account or expenditure beyond the ceiling would be liable to fine equal to the amount spent or the amount equivalent to the threshold whichever is greater.