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Poll statements

Monday, June 26th, 2017
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Temporary policemen constructing a polling booth in Dadeldhura on Monday. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is also in Dadeldhura to cast his vote in the second round of polls on Wednesday. Photo: RSS

The two countries that issued what sounded like grudging statements after the first phase of local elections last month, on Monday came out with softer-worded calls for peaceful voting in the second round of polls on 28 June.

The US and the UK embassies in Kathmandu urged ‘all parties’ to create ‘necessary conditions’ to allow the people to vote peacefully. In separate but identical statements, they urged security forces to exercise restraint and comply with international standards while carrying out their duties.

The US statement read: ‘We call on all parties to mutually respect the freedom of nonviolent expression and assembly, and individual voters’ rights as laid down in Nepal’s laws and constitution.’

The UK statement read: ‘We urge all parties to continue to work to create the conditions for peaceful, inclusive, broadly-supported and credible local elections in Province 2 to complete the local election process.’

Diplomats in Kathmandu wanted to travel outside the capital to observe the first phase of local elections on 14 May, but were only allowed to watch elections in Kathmandu Valley, and the terse statements by the US and the UK embassies were seen by the Foreign Ministry as an undiplomatic pique at their request being rejected.

In the second phase of polls that is taking place in three provinces, the Election Commission has permitted three foreign missions to watch elections in three different polling places, however the US and UK are not among the three.

More than 6,000,000 people are expected to cast their votes in 35 districts of three provinces on Wednesday. The third round of voting will take place only in Province 2 in September.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to deploy at least one bomb disposal squad of the Nepal Army in every polling station amidst reports of blasts in various places over the weekend.  President Bidya Devi Bhandari has already endorsed the government’s decision to deploy the army for the second phase.

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