By Santosh Ghimire
New Delhi, Jul 7: Nepal's Election Commission (EC) wants the government to hold the federal and provincial elections in one phase on November 18 this year, the commission authorities said.
During a meeting with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at Baluwatar, the official residence of the prime minister, Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Chandra Thapaliya and election commissioners recommended the date, a spokesperson for the commission Shaligram Sharma Poudel said.
Even as Nepal conducted federal and provincial elections on two different dates - November 26 and December 7 back in 2017, this time the Election Commission has expressed its intention to hold these elections in a single day for two reasons.
"We have suggested the government to hold federal and provincial elections in a single day across the country. The first is it would be cost-effective and the second is it would be comfortable for the commission for logistic arrangements," Poudel told Indian Narrative on Wednesday evening.
According to the commission spokesperson, Prime Minister Deuba told the election commissioners that the cabinet would take appropriate decisions regarding the holding of elections in the coming weeks.
"The Prime Minister said that these two crucial elections would take place on around the same date as proposed by the commission," he said, adding that the election body is ready to hold elections on the date to be decided by the government.
Earlier on May 13 this year, the country's election body held elections to pick a fresh set of people's representatives for 753 local levels in a single phase. "Recent local level elections also inspired us to hold federal and provincial elections in a single day," he added.
From the upcoming federal elections, 165 members will be elected to the House of Representatives, the lower house of federal parliament, under the First Past the Post electoral system and 110 will be elected under the proportional representation system.
Likewise, for seven provincial assemblies, 330 members will be elected under the direct system and 220 will be elected under the proportional system.
With just a few months left for holding of the provincial and federal elections, political parties have started their election campaigns across the country.
As per the constitution, Nepal holds local, provincial and federal elections every five years. This will be the second time the Himalayan nation holds federal and provincial elections after it adopted its first democratic republic constitution back in September 2015. The country's national charter, also the first post-war full-fledged constitution, had federated the country into seven provinces and 753 local units.
Although Nepal is a Hindu majority nation, the constitution had declared it as a secular and democratic republic following years of political instability. Before entering into a republican system in 2007, Nepal witnessed the overthrow of 240-year Shah Monarchy and 10-year armed conflict that began in 1996.