Poll body aims to complete counting FPTP votes in 3 daysSilence period began from Thursday midnight.
Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya has said the commission will come up with the results of all first-past-the-post elections within three days and complete all the counts within eight days.
However, party leaders and observers doubt the commission’s announcement citing the delay in the counting during the local polls held in May. It took two weeks to complete the counting of votes in Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
“If we all work hard with commitments, we can complete counting as planned and present the report to the President within 18 days of voting,” Thapaliya told a news conference at the commission on Thursday. “If everything goes according to plan, we will present our report on December 8.”
The commission will need more time to announce the winners of the proportional representation (PR) candidates as it needs to manage the clusters.
According to officers at the Election Commission, this time the election body has instructed election officers across the country to ensure fast counting, by managing as many places as possible, ensuring the security of the places and taking necessary consent from the representatives.
“This time what we are going to do is increase the number of counting places as far as possible,” Kamal Bhattarai, under-secretary at the Election Commission. “But the officials concerned must guarantee security and the consent of representatives.”
However, the 18-day timeframe of presenting the report to the President applies only when polling completes in all centres on Sunday and no re-polling is needed.
Chief Election Commissioner Thapaliya said all the preparations for Sunday’s federal and provincial polls have been over.
Nepal is holding its second federal and provincial polls after the country adopted a federal system in 2015. As many as 17,988,570 voters will elect 275 members of the House of Representatives and 550 members for the seven provincial assemblies.
The commission has designated 10,892 polling stations and 22,227 centres for the elections in which 2,412 FPTP and 2,194 proportional representation candidates are competing for the House seats and 3,224 FPTP and 3,708 proportional representation candidates for provincial assemblies. Around 450,000 temporary voters will vote on Sunday for the proportional representation system from 141 temporary polling centres.
Thursday was the deadline for the employees to reach their respective stations along with necessary logistics including the ballot boxes and papers. Each polling centre has at least four ballot boxes and the number depends on the number of voters. A centre has been allocated for up to 1,000 voters and a new centre is set up if the number of voters exceeds the figure.
“All our employees have reached their respective polling stations,” said Bhattarai, under-secretary at the commission. However, some officers have failed to reach their destinations including those of some polling stations of Mustang.
Around 250,000 employees of the commission have already reached their respective polling stations on Thursday.
Though the commission has not made it mandatory to use wires and fences to secure counting, some districts including Lamjung have already fenced such centres and installed CCTV cameras.
The government has already announced public holidays on Sunday and Monday for the elections and the commission has also requested the private and non-government agencies to shut their offices so that their employees could go vote without hassles.
Once the silence period starts, no candidate and party can campaign in any way for the polls. The commission has also directed security agencies to ban the sale of alcohol until the votes are counted.
“All social media posts in favour of the candidates should be deleted,” Thapaliya said on Thursday. “Everyone should be alert not to question the authenticity of the elections based on fake news, misinformation and disinformation.”
Thapaliya also said the commission will conduct air patrols of places that are deemed sensitive from the security perspective.