Will EC print three ballots as SC hints?


The confusion regarding the Supreme Court (SC) order on October 18 to not reprint separate ballots for the federal and provincial assembly elections still continues.
There is no need to speak about the interim order on the petition when reprinting of ballots for proportional representation (PR) system has already been started, the SC said, implying that the petition was filed too late.
Rastriya Janata Party leader Sarbendra Nath Shukla had moved the SC challenging the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to use the same ballot paper for the proportional representation (PR) system of both the elections.
The EC and political parties are in some confusion following the Apex Court’s order. There will be three ballots for the upcoming House of Representatives and provincial assembly elections if the EC decides to implement the SC order. The order, however, does not speak about the ballots for PR electoral system that have already been printed.
The EC forming a task force has already studied whether separate ballots can be printed as per the SC order.  The task force formed under Joint Secretary at the EC Dinesh Kumar Ghimire submitted its report to the EC on Monday including the preparations that need to be made if separate ballots were printed.
Meanwhile, the political parties are also holding dialogue over the implementation of SC order. The issue has already been raised during meeting of Nepali Congress (NC). NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi, during the meeting, had urged the central committee members to carefully read the SC order, and understand its implications.
Will the EC make arrangements of three ballots in such scenario?
An EC commissioner citing the task force’s report said there is problem in implementation of the SC’s order. The commissioner said the SC has only considered ballot printing, and not taken the difficulties that arise in using three separate ballots into consideration.
“The SC only looked at lack of printing of ballots but did not take preparations for that into consideration,” the commissioner continued.
“Printing ballots means making new place for voting. We need a box there, staffers and security, and also ink, the stamp and even fencing. This is, therefore, not an easy issue,” the commissioner explained.
The commissioner deemed that there will be problems even regarding the schools or community buildings where polling will be done. The EC, in this way, has concluded that it is difficult to immediately implement the SC’s order.
But it has yet to take a decision on the task force’s report. EC Spokesperson Nava Raj Dhakal said the EC will hold a meeting to discuss about the report and take decision. He revealed that the task force’s report mentions the additional materials and human resources needed, and whether there will be sufficient time or not.
Joint Secretary Ghimire, however, said he cannot speak about the issues included in the report as he has already submitted it to EC.

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