Describing elections as the soul of a democratic system, Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has appealed to the voters to make Sunday's parliamentary and provincial polls a success as it will "shape the country’s fate and determine the future."
Voting for the twin elections — parliamentary and provincial assemblies — in Nepal will take place in a single phase on November 20.
More than 17.9 million people are eligible to vote in seven provinces across the Himalayan nation.
Out of a total of 275 members of the federal Parliament, 165 will be elected through direct voting, while the remaining 110 will be elected through a proportionate method.
Similarly, out of a total of 550 members of the Provincial Assembly, 330 will be elected directly and 220 will be elected through a proportionate method.
“We need to take the country forward on the path of prosperity by consolidating the federal democratic republic system,” said Mr. Deuba addressing the people through a video message telecast ahead of the elections.
He said that the election is the soul of a democratic system and further appealed to all the Nepalese to make the historic November 20 Parliamentary and Provincial Assembly elections a success.
“As Nepali Congress has been in the forefront of all social and political movements that have taken place in the country in the past, now it is the responsibility of Nepali Congress to take the country towards prosperity,” Mr. Deuba, 76, said.
The five-time Prime Minister said his government would work for the excellence of youth.
“As our youths are attaining excellence in technology and scientific knowledge we will move forward with new thinking honouring their knowledge,” he said.
“We will make the service delivery to the people efficient and effective by modernising our ruling system. The valuable vote cast by the people in the election will shape the country’s fate and determine the future,” Mr. Deuba, also the president of the Nepali Congress, said.
"After the previous government dissolved the Parliament twice, dragging the country towards chaos and uncertainty the present coalition was formed on the foundation of cooperation and collaboration,” Mr. Deuba recalled and appealed upon the people to cast their votes in favour of the candidates belonging to the ruling alliance.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, whose CPN-Maoist Centre is a part of the ruling alliance, termed the November 20 elections as a referendum between progressive and regressive forces.
There is a need for the ruling alliance to win the polls to ensure the rights of the deprived social class, geography and indigenous people, said the former prime minister. Dahal, in a video message, urged all voters to exercise their right to vote and make the coalition victorious.
"The responsibility of making Nepal prosperous through people's access to education, health and employment opportunities and a self-reliant economy has fallen on our shoulders. There is no room for excuses," he said.
Arguing there is no possibility to pursue a journey of development, prosperity and justice under the leadership of a regressive force, Dahal stressed the need for a pro-change force to lead the next government to realise these dreams.
"For ending regressive forces and corruption, and pursuing the journey of socialism through a prosperous Nepal, I want to appeal to all the voters to vote for candidates from the alliance under the first-past-the-post system and for the Maoist Center under the proportional representation system." Meanwhile, the chairpersons of four major parties in the ruling alliance have called on the voters to take the general election as a national festival and participate in the voting process.
They in a joint statement appealed to all to make candidates of the left-democratic alliance victorious in the election. These leaders include Prime Minister Deuba, Dahal, CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairperson Madhav Kumar Nepal and Rastriya Janamorcha Chairperson Chitra Bahadur KC.
They said that there was a wave of nationwide public support in favour of the alliance in the course of the election campaign itself.
"It is known to all that the present alliance had to be formed in July 2021 against the then government after it took several authoritarian and regressive steps by becoming embroiled in corruption and dissolving the House of Representatives twice violating the constitution, laws, rules and procedures, instead of providing vaccines to the citizens suffering from coronavirus," reads the joint statement.
Stating that the present government conducted the local elections in a free, fair and credible manner in a period of one and-a-half-year wherein the parties in the alliance had collaborated, the four leaders said the alliance was together at one place in this election as well.
Noting that the results of this election should expose and defeat the coalition of the 'dissolutionist' and 'regressive' side, the four leaders have urged all the voters to make the common candidates of the alliance victorious in the election.
Nepal's Election Commission has announced a raft of measures to ensure the elections are conducted without any incident.
These include shutting the Nepal-India border, enforcing air patrolling and setting up three-tier security at polling stations.
The Election Commission will be mobilising 276,000 staff for conducting the election and some 300,000 security personnel have also been deployed.
"Nepal-India borders have already been closed from Thursday in view of the elections, and will resume only after the voting concludes." he added.
Additionally, Chief Election Commissioners from India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives will be arriving as international observers, Election Commission spokesperson Shaligram Sharma Poudyal said.
CEC Rajiv Kumar reaches Kathmandu as international observer
India’s Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar reached as an international observer for Sunday’s general elections in Nepal.
Mr. Kumar, 62, is leading a four-member delegation, including two officials from the Election Commission of India.
Nepal is scheduled to hold elections on November 20 to elect 275 members of the federal Parliament and 550 seats of the seven Provincial Assemblies.
Upon their arrival, Shaligram Sharma Poudel, Joint Secretary at the Election Commission of Nepal, welcomed Kumar and other members of the delegation at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
Shortly after landing in Kathmandu, Mr. Kumar, his wife and other members of the delegation left for Pokhara, a famous tourist destination of Nepal.
He will join other international delegates to observe the election. Kumar will visit polling stations in Kathmandu and surrounding areas before wrapping up his five-day visit on November 22.
Mr. Kumar, who is here at the invitation of Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, Chief Election Commission of Nepal Election, will attend a dinner reception to be hosted by Thapaliya on Saturday.
Besides Mr. Kumar, Chief Election Commissioners from Bangladesh Bhutan and Maldives are also scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu to observe the November 20 elections.