CEC Yadav sees logistical hurdles in holding two elections togetherChief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav on Sunday said that logistical management, particularly the printing of ballot papers, would be challenging for holding the elections for provincial assemblies and the House of Representatives together.
Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav on Sunday said that logistical management, particularly the printing of ballot papers, would be challenging for holding the elections for provincial assemblies and the House of Representatives together.
The government has proposed holding the two elections at one go given the time constraint arising from the constitutional need to elect a new federal parliament by January 21, 2018. Most of the political parties are on the same page about holding the two elections together.
Earlier, the Election Commission (EC) had proposed holding the elections for provincial parliament in the second week of October and the federal elections in the third week of November.
According to EC officials, although they started preparations for holding the two elections together, even before the government’s proposal, technical and legal matters need to be addressed. At the parliamentary Good Governance and Monitoring Committee on Sunday, Yadav expressed his concern over printing up to 70 million ballot papers.
The number of necessary ballot papers shot up, counting four for each voter—two each for provincial assembly and federal parliamentary elections—if the practice of having separate ballots for first-past-the-post (FPTP) and proportional representation systems is followed. Separate ballot papers were arranged for FPTP and PR systems during the Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 and 2013.
It had taken nearly 45 days to print 16 million ballot papers for the local level elections. If 70 million ballots are to be printed, it takes nearly six months, according to the EC.
It would be impossible, said Yadav, to print the ballots after assigning the candidates electoral symbols.
Given the difficulties, the EC is planning to propose an arrangement where a vote cast under the FPTP system will also be considered a vote under the proportional system for the same party. In that case, only two ballots will be required per voter for a joint polling.
The parties, however, are yet to discuss the EC’s proposal of a single ballot paper for FPTP and PR.
Two bills on provincial and federal elections, which have been registered in-Parliament, need to be adjusted, according to a senior election official.