KATHMANDU: The Election Commission (EC) has invited Chief Election Commissioners of SAARC member countries for election observation.
It, however, hasn’t invited SAARC’s youngest member nation – Afghanistan.
“The Election Commission invited chief election commissioner of SAARC member countries through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for observation of the November 20 elections,” EC said. “SAARC members have been invited for the observation in the capacity of neighbors. Invitations were sent through the foreign ministry.”
There is a practice of inviting member countries to observe elections in SAARC countries.
SAARC has been inactive since its summit was held in Kathmandu in 2014. Of late, BIMSTEC is being promoted as an alternative to SAARC in the region.
Regardless of the situation of SAARC, it is the duty of Nepal, as the chair of SAARC, to invite member countries to observe its election process, a commissioner of the EC told Himal Press.
According to the foreign ministry, invitations have already been sent to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives.
Afghanistan was not invited on the advice of the foreign ministry because Taliban rulers there aren’t practicing even basic democratic norms and values.
The Election Commission will take care of the delegation from SAARC member countries should they arrive in Nepal.
The commission has permitted 43 organizations for election observation.