It's about 2 AM in the morning and the more I try to sleep, the more thoughts come into my mind. Instead of flipping in my bed umpteen times, I decided to let it all out over here.
Nepalese people participated in a historical election on Apr 10. Yes, it was historical because Maoist guerrillas who have been waging a so called "people's movement" decided to lay down arms and join democratic political process. Whether it was really a people's movement that's a topic for different blog but let's talk about this election here.
According to Nepalese Election Commission, there was about 60% polling which by any standard is a success. But the commission as well as some foreign observers affirm that poll was fair except some booths where some irregularities were observed. As of today, the commission has decided to do a re-polling on 70 of booths. But what is a fair poll process? I believe in KISS principle so to me a fair poll process is process where each concerned party has equal opportunity to share their manifesto and future plan with general people AND people vote without any fear or coercion.
It's very well known fact that some of candidates (Surya Bahadur Thapa in Dhanusha for an example) could not even hold a rally in their constituency because Maoist or other parties did not let them. Poll was supposed to start at 7 AM in morning in constituency number 6 of Sarlahi district and booth was closed without a single person voting because all ballots had already been stamped. I am sure these people formed part of 60% that the election commission projected. In terms of security, there were one police with a gun and three polices with baton in most of booths as per my conversation with friends whom I talked over the phone on the day of voting. Commission proclaimed that they were fully prepared for the election. What the heck?
I sympathize with the commission that they did not have enough time to prepare. So why was the election not split in two or three days if there were not enough resources??
What bothers me the most is so called independent observers including honorable president Mr. Carter. Carter center called the election remarkable and excellent. My question is what benchmark and data set were used to come to this conclusion? As per my conversation with folks across different constituencies in Terai region, they did not come across any foreign media and observers. My question to the Carter center and to Mr. Carter is this: Is visiting polling centers in Kathmandu and Pokhara enough? Did you consider visiting areas which were known to be problematic to assess preparation? Is this what expected from the Carter Center? Can somebody fill me with the details please?
Off to bed....