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EC bars 2 EU observers from poll monitoring

KATHMANDU — The Election Commission (EC) has barred two European Union observers from monitoring provincial and parliamentary elections until further decision after they were found violating the code of conduct enforced by the EC.

Kanchanpur’s Chief Returning Officer Rajendra Kumar Acharya had written to the poll panel on Tuesday, urging the EC to prohibit EU observers from monitoring provincial and parliamentary polls in the district after they were found to have entered the premises of Kanchanpur District Court and enquired about human resources available in the court, acting beyond their jurisdiction.

EU observers, Lars-Goeran Plagman and Eeva Suhonen, had gone to Kanchanpur District Court on Sunday to enquire about human resources available in the court.

Issuing a press release, EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal said on Friday that the EC has decided to bar them from monitoring the elections.

“A formal process to revoke their licence to observe the elections has been moved forward through the diplomatic channel,” said Dhakal.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, during a meeting with Neena Gill, chief of a team of EU Parliament, and the delegates of the European Parliament on Friday itself, told them that international observers should follow Nepal’s laws and the election code of conduct.

The EU, which set up its election observation mission on November 7, is mobilising over 100 observers, the largest among the international observers, for the upcoming federal parliament and provincial elections.

Other international observers are the Carter Center, Asian Network for Free Elections and Ankawa International.

Kanchanpur is among the 45 districts that go to polls on December 7.

The poll panel has given permission to four international organisations — the European Union, the Carter Centre, Asian Network for Free Elections and Peru-based Ankawa International — to monitor polls.

Meanwhile, CEC Yadav also met Željana Zovko, chief observer from the EU on Friday, according to an EC press statement. Discussions were held on the Kanchanpur incident and ways to avoid repetition of such incidents in future during the meeting, it said.

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