The following speech was delievered by the Ambassador at the event on May 6:
Honorable Chief Commissioner, Neel Kanth Uprety, Election Commission of Nepal, Honorable CA members, honorable Commissioners, high officials from Government of Nepal, GEOC-Chairperson Mr. Himalaya Shumsher Rana, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased and honored to be with you today on releasing the CA Election Observation Report of 2013 together with Honorable Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Honorable Chief Commission for holding a free, fair and inclusive CA-2 election. We are pleased to be a part of election support work in Nepal through Nepal Peace Trust Fund, UNDP Electoral Support Programme-II, IFES and the Carter Center.
On behalf of the Norwegian Embassy in Kathmandu, I would like to commend the neutral and quality work of GEOC-Nepal (a network of 10 professional civil society organizations) on CA-2 Election Observation in November 2013. We are pleased with the observations made and issues incorporated in this report, which was prepared by mobilizing more than 2300 observers to 55 districts of Nepal in all phases of election i.e. pre-election monitoring, Election Day observation and also post-election work. We ourselves also witnessed their observations during CA election and found them as a credible network on election observations.
We strongly believe that periodic elections both at national and local levels are fundamental for a democratic society and country that respect rule of law and citizen’s supremacy. With the CA election, democratic functions at national level is back on track. We urge all CA members, political parties, civil society actors and government of Nepal to declare and hold free, fair and inclusive local election as soon as possible to provide a long waited peace dividend to Nepali people through an elected, accountable and responsive local government.
Engagement of national and international observers on periodic elections in any country is a pre-condition for a free, fair and credible election. Thus, GEOC together with other national observers played instrumental roles in the last CA election. We are confident that Nepalese civil society organizations have the competency and capacity for election observations.
We highly impressed with a quality of report that we released today which also has key recommendations and learning points for future elections. We are confident that Election Commission of Nepal and government officials will pay high priority on the following:
- More information and effective education to voters and election officers on voting procedures and mechanism
- Making code of conduct more practical and fully implement it with proper monitoring and sanction mechanism
- Better coordination and collaboration among actors especially ECN, GoN and political parties
- More collaboration between ECN and election observers both national and international
- Simplification and dissemination of election related laws and procedures including electoral system especially PR
- Document good practices and learning for next elections including mechanism for preventing election related violence
- Making election expenditure more transparent and systematic
Norway strongly believes in periodic election are the foundations for a democratic norms, values and principles that promote socio-economic development of all people in a manner that is fair, inclusive and participatory.
Finally, we are encouraged by the high priority given by the new government to conduct local elections at the earliest possible time. We urge all concerned parties to fulfill their commitment to make the local election a reality. Once again congratulation to ECN and GEOC-Nepal for their good collaboration.