We expect to have 70 pc voter turnout this time: GEOC General Secretary Pradhan

Monday, Nov 18, 2013 15:42 PM (6 years ago)Total Hits: 334

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There are 53 national and three international organizations observing the CA Election 2013 slated for November 13. One of them is General Election Observation Committee, Nepal (GEOC), which has already released its preliminary reports on the election twice.

How is GEOC viewing the ongoing preparations for the election? Bom Lal Giri of Ujyaalo Online had an interview with Krishna Man Pradhan, general secretary of GEOC. Here are the excerpts of the interview:

Voting will have been going on at this time tomorrow. How have you found the preparations?

The election fervor is everywhere. This has encouraged all. The voters have reached their village, city or districts. If the voters get on line before 7 am and can vote by 12 pm, the parties and candidates will not get an opportunity to misuse your vote.

All the organizations will receive information from all over the country on every hour. This shows that the voters are enthusiastic about the election. The government staff has completed all preparations. There are, however, some elements that are disturbing the elections by planting bombs at places. But there is not much to worry about, as the security apparatus has remained alert.

What do you think are the challenges considering the present situation?

The Election Commission is still distributing Voter IDs via concerned offices. There have been some problems in distributing the IDs at some places. Since the names are in alphabetical order, there is some confusion among voters regarding the election centers. The political parties and the EC officials are working to clear the confusion.

Even so, I urge all the voters to get their Voter ID today and not wait for tomorrow. This will make it easier for the voters themselves. Even if you cannot bring the Voter ID card, the officials at the election center will be helping you as there will be your photos along with the voter list.

Do you think that the anti-election activities have threatened the voters in anyway?

We have met with CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya and other leaders from the alliance. They said that they only protesting against the procedure for election. They have not targeted voters and observers. Since they said that they are only targeting some of the leaders of few parties, I don't think they will be disturbing the voters. However, some areas might witness such incidents. Therefore, I urge all to remain alert.

Bombs are exploding at here and there. Even vehicles have not been spared. Who are carrying out such acts?

As I am only an observer, I can't say for sure who are carrying out such acts without any concrete evidence. But whoever called for the strike should take the moral responsibility. Still, they (Baidya alliance) cannot be accused without legally being proved. With the Baidya alliance denying its involvement, another group may come forward in future to take its responsibility. But the reports that we received so far indicate that Baidya alliance does have its involvement in some incidents while some other groups have also carried out such activities.  

The vehicular strike seems to prevent many voters from going to vote. How can this be addressed?

It is true that the strike has brought some problems in operating vehicles. Its effect is more in the mountain region. The police have been escorting vehicles and get them to their destination. So there will be some problems for the voters but not to that extent that it will bar them from voting.  

What is your expectation of voter turnout this time?

We had almost 65 percent voter turnout in 2008 election. We project that there will be about 70 percent voter turnout this time. The voters were more scared then. Though they are in a state of fear this time too, most of them have already reached their respective constituency and the government has also declared four days of holidays, which will increase the voter turnout.

With the election just a day away, what are the things that the government, the EC and political parties need to improve?

The EC should try to deliver the Voter IDs to all the voters. If that cannot be done then they should come up with an option. They should make an arrangement for allowing a voter without the ID card to vote on the basis of the individual's name and photo.

The government, on the other hand, should convince the voters of the security while going to the election center and returning from them. The representatives of the candidates should also assist the voters to find their names and voting procedure.



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