Although United Kingdom, The United States of America and European Union, among others, have welcomed the successful completion of the first phase of local elections, the Election Commission has decided to bar their Kathmandu-based missions from being observers in the second phase of elections. The decision has irked the diplomatic missions, which have been providing all kinds of material and financial support to the government.
A day after the conclusion of the first phase elections, the British Embassy in Kathmandu issued a press statement urging the government to ensure "unrestrained international election observation" for the second phase.
In a press statement, the embassy "welcomed" the commencement of local elections, but said, “We encourage unrestricted international election observation to be authorised for the next phase of the polls, to enable the international community, including accredited diplomats, to observe and offer support to the outcomes of the election.”
Gopi Mainali, secretary at the Election Commission said: “We are grateful for their generous support, but Kathmandu-based diplomats will not be allowed to observe the second phase as per the decision of EC.”
However, there is strong voice from international community to grant observation..“The United States strongly encourages the Government of Nepal to permit unrestricted international election observation during second phase of local elections, in order to enable the international community, including accredited diplomats, to observe and offer support to the outcomes of the election,” says the release.
With less than thirty days before the next poll date, we encourage continued efforts to forge a political agreement that enables the broadest participation of voters in the phase two elections as possible for an inclusive process. This will increase the credibility of the electoral process and strengthen democratic transition across the country.
During the first phase of the election, most of the diplomats were allowed to visit the elections booth in Kathmandu but the EC declined to issue them the observer status.
In an informal meeting, Kathmandu based diplomats decided to request to the government and EC to provide them the status of observer as in the past.
Similarly, British Embassy also urged the government to allow international observer. “We encourage unrestricted international election observation to be authorised for the next phase of the polls, to enable the international community, including accredited diplomats, to observe and offer support to the outcomes of the election. We urge any protests to be undertaken peacefully and that the security forces act with restraint. We regret the loss of life in relation to the electoral process over the past week,” said a press statement issued by British Embassy.
US Hails Peaceful First Round Of Local Elections
The United States recognizes the efforts of all stakeholders – including the Government of Nepal, the Election Commission of Nepal, civil society, political parties, and the citizens of Provinces 3, 4, and 6 – in conducting what appears to have been a largely peaceful and broadly supported first round of local elections in Nepal.
“We now urge all stakeholders to work to create the necessary conditions to ensure that the people of Provinces 1, 2, 5, and 7 are also given the same opportunity to peacefully exercise their democratic right to elect local representation during the second phase of local elections in June,” said a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy.
"We call on all parties to mutually respect the freedom of peaceful expression and assembly, and individual voters’ rights as laid out in Nepal’s laws and constitution. We also call on the security forces to exercise restraint and comply with existing national and international standards when carrying out their duties."
The United States remains committed to working with all stakeholders for a peaceful, inclusive, broadly-supported, and credible election process.
British Embassy Welcomes Local Elections
British Embassy has welcomed the commencement of local elections in Nepal, with voting in three of the seven provinces on 14, May.
“We are not commenting on the process at this stage. We urge progress from all stakeholders to work to create the necessary conditions to ensure that the people of the remaining four provinces are also given the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to directly elect local representatives on 14 June,” read a statement issued by British Embassy.
The British Embassy reiterates that it remains committed to working with all stakeholders for an inclusive, peaceful and broadly-supported election process.