KATHMANDU:- Various speakers have commented that periodic elections have become ever expensive in Nepal since the election system has not been decentralized and the political parties unlikely to handle election security on their own.
At a dialogue programme ‘Value of Expensive Election in Nepal’ organized by Barbara Foundation today in keeping with upcoming local, provincial and federal elections, they said expensive election in democracy was disappointing.
The speakers suggested that election expenses could be slashed if the political parties are likely to carry out all works excluding technical activities of voting centers by engaging the voters.
Former Chief Election Commissioner Bhojraj Pokharel said economic spending is high on election management, security and publicity and the volume of electoral expenditure would not reduce until the decentralized election system was adopted.
Pokharel further said the election related spending by candidates and political parties has also gone up besides the government expenditure for elections.
“It is obvious that election becomes further exorbitant when the candidates are in a position to buy tickets and votes”, he said, arguing that the tendency of winning election by hooks or crooks is a big challenge to lower the election expenses.
Another former Election Commissioner Nilakantha Uprety said electoral expenses would not decrease until and unless electoral procedure, technology, system and process are not changed.
Huge election costs would be lowered if electronic election system was adopted, Uprety said, asking the political parties to do monitoring to this effect.
He stressed the need to monitor election spending data the political parties or candidates present at the EC and the read spending they make.
Likewise, former election commissioner Ila Sharma said almost 80 percent of the amount the EC receives from the government is channelized at local level. However, she admitted that the EC office-bearers, employees and other involved in the election commission are receiving some incentive allowances.
“There is a situation to incentivize those who are engaged round the clock in conducting the election. Without incentivizing the people, it would tough to conduct the electoral process in a smooth manner”, she noted.
Former Vice-Chancellor of the Tribhuvan University Kedarbhakta Mathema pitched for the need of economized election system saying the growing election expenses have created such a situation that those interested could not vie for election.
Winning election through money power has pushed people to deeper frustration to election and such situation would ultimately undermine the spirit of democracy, Mathema added.
Journalist duo, Hari Bahadur Thapa and Kiran Nepal underlined the need to monitor electoral malaise as well as opaque activities of political parties and candidates.
Foundation Chairperson Dr Sanduk Ruit said that the agenda of lowering election expenses should be made a national debate as expensive election system has increased disappointment towards democratic system.
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