UN wraps up electoral assistance after Nepal polls

7 May 2008The United Nations Electoral Assistance Office in Nepal is wrapping up after providing technical aid and advice to the country’s Election Commission for last month’s Constituent Assembly polls. “The role of the Electoral Assistance Office has ended,” Fida Nasrallah, Chief Electoral Advisor with the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), said today. She will deliver a final report in June based on the written reports of electoral advisors. “I would describe the experience overall as having been extremely successful,” she said, adding that it was “very challenging, demanding a lot of patience and diplomacy.”All 25 political parties winning seats in the 10 April polls have now submitted their lists of candidates to the Election Commission, with the percentage of women candidates at just below one third of the elected Constituent Assembly, up from 6 per cent in the previous election.Once the Commission announces the final results of the election, the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly must take place within 21 days, UMNIN said. The Assembly will then be tasked with drawing up a new constitution for the country, which has emerged from a decade-long civil war that claimed an estimated 13,000 lives before the Government and Maoist rebels signed a peace accord in 2006.On election day, UN electoral advisors visited polling centres to monitor the process, and since then have helped analyze the election results. They have also trained political parties in selecting candidates to meet quota requirements, as well as setting up media monitoring for non-electoral periods. read more