Kathmandu, February 1: The Election Commission (EC) has proposed holding the local level election on May 18.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had called EC officials to Baluwatar for a discussion on the local level election at 3 pm Tuesday.
In the meeting, EC officials recommended May 18 as a suitable date for local level elections as the term of local level representatives expires on May 19, 2021. “Holding election before the term of the local level representatives is the constitutional duty of both the government and the EC,” the EC said.
Prime Minister Deuba took the recommendation positively and agreed to confirm the proposed date after completing the necessary process to hold the election in a single phase. He also urged the EC to start preparations for holding local elections in a clean, free, fair and fearless environment, said EC Spokesperson Shaligram Sharma Poudel.
Earlier in December 2021, the EC proposed April 27 for holding the three-tier election in a single phase. In case that would not have been viable, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dinesh Thapaliya had recommended holding the first phase on April 27 and the second phase on May 5.
However, then the ruling coalition partners had not forged any consensus on holding the election or the poll date.
Just last Saturday, the ruling coalition agreed to hold local elections within mid-June and advised the government to set a date after consulting the EC. Following Saturday’s understanding, Prime Minister Deuba held discussions with EC officials today.
The meeting between government and EC officials also discussed the tentative election cost. The EC estimated that the local level election proposed on May 18 is likely to break the government’s back by Rs. 12 billion. Stating that the cost during the last election stood around Rs 8 billion, the EC gave an estimate of Rs 12 billion to conclude the elections this time around.
The EC is also wary of the increasing cost of elections if they are not held in a single phase. It estimated the election expenses to swell by 30 percent compared to the 2017 elections. The EC noted the cost of polling stations, polling booths, ballot papers and polling materials would also increase as 2 million voters have been added after 2017.