Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nepal, India lose billions after election postponement

KATHMANDU: Besides losing credibility at home and abroad for its repeated failures to hold the constituent assembly election, the Girija Prasad Koirala government has also lost his impoverished country as well as neighbour India billions with Friday’s decision to put off the November election once more.

Though the full extent of the loss was not known immediately, a private Nepali television channel estimates that the government wasted NRS 70 crore alone on printing election material, like ballot papers, the code of conduct and posters. Even if a fresh election date is announced Thursday, the piles of ballot paper would become useless junk if the government concedes the Maoist demand and switches over to a fully proportional representation system instead of the mixed system that had been adopted for the November 22 polls.

Generous election assistance had been pouring in from major donors, like India, US and EU. Besides assistance in the form of vehicles and voting machines, India has been flowing in its Election Commission officials for advice and recently, organised an elaborate seminar on constituent assembly.

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