Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday came down heavily on the European Union Election Observation Mission over its controversial report on the federal and provincial elections held in November-December last year saying that the EUEOM had undermined Nepal’s sovereignty and an overwhelming voter participation.
The EU mission’s recommendation for denying the proportional representation (PR) election quota for the Khas-Aryas, complaint about “non-representation” of Christians and comment on the Election Commission’s “opacity” has drawn strong criticism from both the government and the EC.
While unveiling the election observation report by the domestic firm National Election Observation Committee, PM Oli on Sunday strongly criticised the mission’s report.
The European mission submitted its final report to the Election Commission on Tuesday, having observed the elections to the House of Representatives and the provincial assemblies.
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday protested the EUEOM’s comments and recommendations, calling them a direct challenge to the provisions of the constitution promulgated in line with the inclusive policy reflective of Nepal’s social structure.
On Thursday, the EC said it rejected the recommendations put forth by the EU monitoring mission stating that the report violated the memorandum of understanding signed between the poll authority and the observer on October 24, 2017 and 12 points of the Election Observation Code of Conduct.
In a statement on Thursday, the EUEOM defended its recommendations arguing that it fully abided by its terms of reference and the memorandum of understanding signed with Nepal’s authorities while preparing the report.
PM Oli said on Sunday: “The government had expected that the EU would ‘correct’ is report but it responded defiantly. As the prime minister, let me say again that Nepal is a sovereign country.”
Pointing to the EU mission’s report, Oli said some people assumed that they could do whatever they wished considering Nepal’s backwardness and poverty.
He described the overwhelming participation of people in the recent elections as a big achievement, something the EC had failed to appreciate.
“They say voters are not aware but there was 80 percent turnout. Questions may arise why 20 percent voters didn’t cast their ballot. It is not that voters stayed home: the reason is many Nepali voters are out of the country—in Arab and Malaysia,” the prime minister said.
Oli also challenged outsiders who criticise Nepal’s inclusive policy, asking them to match in their own country the level of women’s representation as policy-makers in Nepal.
Nepal has ensured at least 33 percent representation of women in both federal and provincial parliaments while they hold around 40 percent positions in local governments.
PM Oli suspected that the EUEOM’s report might have been influenced by the barring of two election observers by the EC in Kanchanpur district in November. “We barred one-two observers for promoting their religion,” said the PM, adding, but there should be no traces of revenge in the report.