Review Nepal News

Check rampant expenditure during elections

Review Nepal
  Kathmandu, Nepal      November 12 2017

Sketch source:- en.karobardaily.com

The numbness surrounded in the villages and towns have revitalized again by the political parties, candidates and the cadres. The approaching deadline for the parliament and the federal assembly elections has created big sensations in the country. It seems that the election fever has gripped not only the political parties, candidates and cadres but also the entire nation. The leaders who used to stay in center have reached in the local level as the candidates distributing bundles of dreams. Huge money is also being spent on the name of elections campaign like election rallies, hosting top leaders and other daily expenses for election workers. Despite these visible expenses, the money paid by the candidates to the party ‘headquarters’ to secure their candidacy and the money that used to be distribute to by the candidates to bag votes are remaining unaccounted. The Election Commission (EC) has imposed the election code of conduct by limiting the expenses during the elections. But the EC is remaining helpless not only to restrict the candidates from unethical expenses. Though the election expenditures sound normal during the elections season, the unchecked expenditure has jeopardizing our democracy and promoting corruption in the country. 
 
The EC has fixed election expenditure limit but it remained unimpeded.  As per the expenditure limit fixed by the EC ,a candidate contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system can spend Rs. 2.5 million while candidates who are contesting the provincial assembly elections, however, can spend up to Rs 1.5 million. Similarly, the candidate contesting the parliamentary elections under the Proportional Representation (PR) system can spend up to Rs 200,000 while a candidate contesting the provincial assembly polls under the PR system will have to limit such expenditure to Rs 150,000. The expenditure limit was exceeded responding to the hue and cry of the candidates contesting under the FPTP system stating that the previously set amount would not be insufficient to launch the elections campaign.. Earlier, the EC had proposed maximum Rs 1.4 million for a candidate contesting parliamentary elections under the FPTP electoral system and Rs 700,000 for a candidate contesting the provincial election under the same system. We understand that neither the revised amount nor the previously proposed amount would be enough to launch the election campaign even in respectable manner. 
 
As the EC is responsible for managing elections, it has failed to manage over spending of the candidates. The EC office bearers would not have unaware that almost all the candidates are openly flouting election code of conduct by spending tens of millions of rupees on the name elections campaign. The has been remaining helpless to check the rampant expenditure of the candidates even though it deserves right to take stern action to though who violates the provisions set by the EC. Though the EC can do nothing to check the transition made by the candidates to the party headquarters to secure their candidacy and the amount distributed secretly to the people to attract the voters, there is no any difficulties to control the over spending on office operation, printing voter rolls, transport, publicity materials and mobilizing party cadres for election purposes. Being a responsible constitutional body to manage the elections, the EC should not delay to set up mechanism to check the non-transparent deals to end growing trend of commercialization of political parties. Since politics is the main source to drive the entire sectors of the society systematically, not only the EC but the people in general should take equal responsibilities to make transparent and conscientious to the parties. Increasing influence of money in politics would promote criminalization of politics. The rampant donation drive launched recently either on the name of the political parties or in an individual basis should be checked immediately. The EC should give immediate attention to check the rampant donation drive in coordination with the Nepal Rastra Bank and the organization of the business communities like FNCC to make transactions through the banking process.