Nepal’s Chief Election Commissioner Keshav Raj Rajbhandary has defended the democratic essence and propriety of the municipality polls held recently. He put in no uncertain terms that the legitimacy and validity of the polls are a question that can be ascertained and decided by the Nepalese people themselves only.
Speaking at an interaction with the media persons the other day, Chief Election Commissioner Rajbhandary cited the various provisions of the Nepalese Constitution and laws relating to the elections and argued that the municipality polls have conformed to and upheld the legal provisions established for the same.
Answering the queries of the media on the low turn out in the elections, the Election Commission chief pointed out the fact that such a situation had also been created in other countries too where violence and intimidation were used aggressively to deter the people from participating in the polls. He countered the charges levelled against the polls and mentioned the fact that the polls held in some other countries where voter turn out was as low as twenty per cent were not disputed and challenged on the ground of legitimacy and participation.
As maintained by the chief of the EC, the popular response for the municipality polls was strident, visible and articulate and the Nepalese people pursued and followed the democratic process for the polls.
Despite threats and criminal intimidation executed by the groups opposed to the polls, the people showed their commitment to participate in the franchise exercise. They were firm to make the democratic exercise a testing event to further the process of democratic consolidation in the country.
As there is no alternative to the polls to usher a new era of democratic development, there should be no attempt from any quarter to challenge the legitimacy of the elections held for municipalities in the country.
It is incumbent upon friendly nations to lend cooperation and support to assure that the process for democratic polls was furthered to foster the values of liberty and democracy in this country.