KATHMANDU (Xinhua): In Nepal’s 2008 elections of the first Constituent Assembly, 50 individuals were killed, 1,286 were injured and 116 were kidnapped in a total of 485 political and election-related incidents.
Five years down the line, there is valid ground to fear that the 2013 elections of the second Constituent Assembly, scheduled for November 19 this year, will be no less violent.
“Plenty of security threats exist this time around as well. The success or failure of the election depends on how the government and security bodies can deal with them,” Rohit Karki, an analyst with Nepal Institute for Policy Studies, told Xinhua last Tuesday.
Karki said major obstacles may arise from the opposing political camps, including an alliance among 33 smaller parties.
“If the alliance of fringe parties goes beyond the poll-boycott slogan and disrupts the election process, the government has to beef up its security plans because violence could flare up,”Karki said.
Providing political patronage to criminals and “criminalization ” of politics is another security threat to the upcoming election, Karki said, adding that it can be tackled by exposing and foiling the illegal nexus between politicians and criminals.
Former Chief Election Cmmissioner Bhojraj Pokhrel said that only a coordinated and holistic effort by the government can ensure adequate security in the election.
“Security threats, first of all, emerge from the government itself. It is positive that we now have a non-partisan neutral government formed only for the purpose of election,” Pokhrel said.
According to Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, Pushkar Regmi, the ex-combatants, who were disqualified to be reintegrated with Nepal Army as part of the Comprehensive Peace Accord 2006, may pose a major threat in the election.
Porous border with India, smuggling of arms and the armed outfits of Terai plains are other key challenges of the election, Regmi said.
To ensure election, Nepal’s National Army should also be provided some role, said Govinda Kusum, a former secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs. “Muscle and money will be the serious threats to election. Mobilization of youth wings of various political parties and possible unhealthy rivalry among them could be yet another threat, “Kusum said.
The government is well aware of the security challenges of election, said Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Armed Police Force Shailendra Khanal. “We have set up election cells in various places across the country to collect election-related information,”said Khanal, adding that the security agencies are now in the last phase of finalizing an integrated security plan designed to ensure fair, orderly and peaceful elections on Nov. 19.
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