KATHMANDU – The local level election will be taking place at entire 753 units in a single phase on May 13. This time the Election Commission (EC) decides to undo with a traditional approach for voter education campaign as it switches to ‘a smart approach’ to do so.
The EC has not mobilized people to meet voters face-to-face for voter education. Rather, it is conducting the campaign with the help of technology. It has produced audiovisual contents and voter education messages and disseminating them through its facebook page, YouTube channels, Twitter and Viber.
Senior artists as Madan Krishna Shrestha and Haribansha Acharya and an artist couple Sitaram Kattel and Kunjana Ghimire (Dhurmush-Suntali), artists Subodh Gautam, Kedar Ghimire (Magne Budha), Deepak Raj Giri, Dipa Shree Niraula, and Daman Rupakheti, singers Pashupati Sharma and Manamaya Waiba have contributed to the voter education smart contents.
According to election commissioner Dr Janaki Kumari Tuladhar, the voter education materials are being disseminated through 16 national dailies, the Radio Nepal, Nepal Television and other television channels as per the Election and Voter Education Policy, 2078 BS and Election Education and Voter Education Guidelines, 2078 BS.
She said that the EC has already printed and distributed different election related materials including brochures, pamphlets, model ballot papers and posters, and made a circular about the right way to cast vote. Tuladhar shared, “We are focusing on virtual media education this time rather than paper-type education. Active role by political parties, candidates and civil society is necessary.”
Tuladhar, who looks voter education in EC, opined, “The EC intends to ensure that no voter is deprived of the right to vote. We have prepared and distributed the various types of information and education materials to address the voters of every interest.”
The EC has made circular to the office of Chief Returning Officer of 77 districts, 676 office of the Returning Officers, province election office of seven provinces and district election office of 70 districts and directed so. The teams led by polling officers to be deployed at voting centres for election purpose are urged to distribute voter identity cards provided by the EC as well as to make voters known about the right way to cast vote through posters, brochures provided by EC in the first two days of voting.
Three hundred fifty-five persons of various political parties have already been elected unopposed to different posts in the local level election. Similarly, 35 independent candidates including six ward chairpersons have been elected unopposed.
Seventeen million 733 thousand 723 voters are casting votes at 21 thousand 955 polling booths in 10 thousand 756 voting stations on May 13 to choose their representatives to a total 34,831 local government posts, exclusive of those already elected unopposed. One hundred nine thousand 88 employees and 65 thousand 865 volunteers have already reached their respective polling stations along with the required election materials.
Sixty-five political parties are participating in the local level election although 79 political parties had registered their names with the Election Commission for the purpose of contesting in the election. One hundred forty-five thousand 11 candidates of various political parties and independents are in the election fray. Among them, 55 thousand 698 are women and 89 thousand 313 are men.
The Election Commission has already given the necessary instructions to the government and the local administration concerned for making arrangements for peace and security for ensuring the right of the voters to cast votes in a peaceful, fear-free environment and smoothly. The EC stated that the election security system has been made effective in line with this instruction.