Nepal's poll commission prepares for Nov polls despite uncertainty

Kathmandu: Nepal's election commission is preparing for the mid-term elections in November despite the uncertainty over polls due to the pending petitions in the Supreme Court against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, according to a media report. At the recommendation of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the lower house for the second time in five months on May 22 and announced snap elections on November 12 and November 19.

Prime Minister Oli is currently heading a minority government after losing a trust vote in the 275-member House.

The constitutionality of the President's move is being heard at the Supreme Court, raising the question if the elections would be held on set dates.

But the Election Commission of Nepal said that it would start to procure materials required for holding the polls next week after the Finance Ministry approved 7.72 Nepalese Rupees billion for holding the elections, The Kathmandu Post reported.

The ministry said it approved the budget for the commission to procure election materials and election management. This budget, however, does not cover the expenses for security arrangements for the polls.

We are planning to issue a tender next week for all the goods required for holding the elections, except for ballot boxes which we have in adequate numbers, said Raj Kumar Shrestha, spokesperson at the commission.

Officials at the election body say though the House dissolution case is being challenged in the Supreme Court, the commission cannot say no to holding elections. The commission is currently preparing the specifications for over 50 types of goods to be procured.

Some of the items that the election body plans to procure are ballot box stickers, identity cards, poll books, security seals, rubber stamps, voting stamps, markers, stamp pad and ink, polythene bag and shack, photocopy paper; glue sticks, stapler machines, scales and scissors and pens.

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