India’s Chief Election Commissioner of India, Rajiv Kumar, arrived in Kathmandu on Friday to observe the upcoming general elections in Nepal slated for coming Sunday, November 20.
India's Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar in #Nepal with a 4-member team as an international observer for Nov 20 #GeneralElection2022 in Nepal#NepalVotes2022 #SouthAsia pic.twitter.com/48Es8kCeby
— TheSouthAsianTimes (@TheSATimes) November 18, 2022
Kumar is leading a four-member delegation comprising officials of India’s Election Commission to observe Nepal’s federal parliament and provincial assembly elections.
According to Kamal Bhattarai, assistant spokesperson for the Election Commission of Nepal, Kumar will visit polling stations in Kathmandu on the day of elections.
India’s logistic support
Nepal and India share an open border and have been maintaining close socio-cultural affinities for ages. India has been extending logistic support to Nepal during elections for a long time.
The Election commission officers collect the ballot box and election materials for the respective polling booths around the Kathmandu valley for upcoming #GeneralElection. #NepalVotes2022 #prabinranabhat #Election2022 #photojournalistnepal #kathmandu #asia #nepal pic.twitter.com/ujHXeIaZmT
— Prabin Ranabhat (@prabinranabhat) November 18, 2022
Two weeks ago, India extended 200 vehicles for the purpose of elections upon the request of the Nepali side. India’s Ambassador to Nepal Naveen Srivastava handed over the keys of those vehicles to Finance Minister Janardan Sharma in Kathmandu.
Those vehicles, which are being utilized by Nepal’s Election Commission and security agencies, are expected to facilitate the smooth conduct of polls being held on November 20.
Nepal and India’s election body joining hands
India’s Election Commission, in a recent press release, said that it has been joining a similar international election visitors programme.
“The Election Commission of India has always been in the forefront with fellow Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and relevant international organizations/associations in promoting the cause of democracy worldwide, through bilateral as well as multilateral interactions and has always endeavored to promote contacts, facilitate exchange of knowledge and sharing of best practices with a view to strengthen democratic institutions and processes,” a release said.
ECI’s India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) has so far trained more than 2,200 officers from 109 countries, including Nepal, as part of capacity building initiatives.
A capacity building program for 25 officials from Election Commission of Nepal is also scheduled to be held from 13th to 24th March 2023 at IIIDEM, according to the India’s Election Commission.
“Representatives from Election Commission of Nepal participated in the recently held International Conference hosted by ECI on Conference on ‘Role, Framework & Capacity of EMBs’ as a follow on to the Summit for Democracy’ ECI would be hosting two more International conferences on the theme of “Inclusive and Accessible elections” as also “Technology in elections” as part of Cohort activities under “Summit for Democracy – Year of Action”,” it added.
Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea send observers
Besides neighboring India, South Asian nations Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh are sending their chief election commissioners to Nepal to observe the country’s elections this time.
Meanwhile, Japan, which is Nepal’s long-standing developing partner, is sending its State Minister for Foreign Affairs TAKEI Shunsuke to Kathmandu. South Korea’s election commissioner is, too, joining the international election observation.
Nearly 18 million eligible voters
This is the second time that Nepal is holding such elections after a new republican constitution in 2015 was adopted. Similar polls took place for the first time in 2017.
Voting for the twin elections is taking place in a single phase and preparations for the same have been completed, according to the Election Commission of Nepal. Nearly 18 million eligible voters will cast ballots in seven provinces across the country.
— NewsDrum (@thenewsdrum) November 18, 2022
Altogether 2,412 candidates – 2,187 men and just 225 women – are vying for 165 of the 275 seats in the House of Representatives, the lower house, under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system. The remaining 110 lawmakers will be elected through proportional representation (PR) system.