International observers claim the CA elections largely free, fair

International observers claim the CA elections largely free, fair

The international observers – Carter Centre and European Union Election Observation Mission – said today that the second Constituent Assembly (CA) elections were held in a free and fair manner. The Carter Centre and EU Election Observation Mission organising a separate press meets today said that the elections were conducted in a peaceful manner with high public participation. The announcement came after the UCPN-Maoist allegation of rigging the poll in various constituencies of the country. The party, organising a press meet, also has threatened to boycott the Constituent Assembly, and asked the Election Commission to suspend the counting of votes as it has faced defeat in many constituencies, where earlier it had won. Former US president Jimmy Carter, on the occasion said that the election day was largely peaceful with the Carter Centre observers assessing the environment at polling locations and in the immediate vicinity in 99 per cent of visits. "I am very disappointed to hear of the UCPN-Maoist's rejection of the counting process and withdrawal of their party agents," the former US president said, adding that he trust that the parties will respect the will of Nepali voters as expressed on the election day. "They must refrain from violent protest, and I urge them to allow the electoral process to continue." "I wish they had made reference to ballot fraud as reported in Dhanusha, Gorkha, Siraha, Sarlahi and elsewhere," said Carter, who arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday to monitor the crucial second CA elections. The opposition parties including Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and others have left the counting in Dr Baburam Bhattarai's constituency accusing him of rigging the poll. Despite the complaints of the opposition parties, the Election Commission continued with the vote counting but the UCPN-Maoist, while accusing other parties in the morning, did not mention the ballot fraud of Gorkha, where Bhattarai could have easily lost, had he not rigged the poll. Meanwhile, Carter met with the UCPN-Maoist chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and advised him to accept the people's verdict. Carter Centre has been working in Nepal since the 2008 CA elections. Likewsie, EU Election Observation Mission chief observer Eva Joly, in a separate press meet, said that the counting was really done thoroughly and that the elections were held in a peaceful environment. "If a political party is not satisfied with the process and claims that it was not transparent and genuine they should come up with the evidence and adopt legal ways," Joly added. The second CA election – that was concluded on November 19 – is expected to draft a new constitution after the first CA elected in 2008 failed and dissolved on May 28, 2012.
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