Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nepal's poll panel determined to hold polls

Kathmandu, Sept. 19 (PTI): Nepal's election commission has expressed its determination to hold a free and fair constituent assembly polls on November 22 despite the Maoists' plan to disrupt the key exercise after the former rebels walked out from the government yesterday.

Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokharel said the Election Commission (EC) was committed to holding the Constituent Assembly polls on November 22. He said Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has assured him of adequate security arrangements for the key polls aimed at forming a body to frame a constitution and decide the fate of the 238-year old monarchy.

"As the Maoists themselves are saying that their protests are aimed at ensuring a conducive election environment, I don't think it will affect the polls," Pokharel told mediapersons about the possible impact of the Maoists' decision to quit the government and launch an agitation against the polls.

Pokharel ruled out the possibility of adopting a fully propionate voting system as demanded by the Maoists. He said the EC cannot think beyond the provisions mentioned in the interim constitution. "You can imagine whether it is possible to change the electoral system after the code of conduct is enforced," the Commissioner said.

The Maoists today launched a campaign against the elections as Koirala began fresh dialogue to persuade the former rebels to rejoin the government after their walkout yesterday sparked a political crisis.

The leaders of the seven-party alliance met with the Maoists today in an emergency meeting to try to convince them to return to the government so as to end the crisis that threatens to derail the peace process in Nepal.

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