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Published:July 31st, 2007 05:14 EST
UN election process monitors to start second visit this week to Nepal

UN election process monitors to start second visit this week to Nepal

By SOP newswire

United Nations election monitors will this week begin their second visit to Nepal as part of the world body’s efforts to support the staging of Constituent Assembly polls there later this year.

The five-member UN Electoral Expert Monitoring Team (EEMT), which reports to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is responsible for reviewing all technical aspects of the Constituent Assembly electoral process and monitoring the conduct of the polls themselves.

The Assembly elections are scheduled for 22 November in the Himalayan nation, where a decade-long armed conflict that killed some 13,000 people came to a formal end when the Government and the Maoists signed a peace accord late last year.

The polls were to have been held in mid-June but had to be postponed because regulations governing the process were not ready. November was the next earliest available date because of the monsoon season and several major national holidays.

Last week, the top UN envoy in Nepal told reporters that while the peace process seems to be on track, it is vital to create a conducive political and security climate for the holding of credible Assembly elections.

Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Nepal Ian Martin said that “considerable challenges" remain before the polls can be successfully staged.

Although the country’s peace process started out focused primarily on ending the conflict between the Maoists and the State, it has become increasingly more complicated as traditionally marginalized groups ask for fair representation in the process, he noted, calling for greater dialogue with the marginalized groups.

The EEMT’s report on its first visit to Nepal, held last month, was submitted by Mr. Ban to the Nepalese Government and the nation’s Chief Election Commissioner earlier this month.

Established by the Security Council, the EEMT’s members are appointed directly by the Secretary-General and the team is not a part of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). The mission’s Electoral Assistance Office provides separate technical assistance to Nepal’s Election Commission.

Rafael Lopez-Pintor of Spain is the leader of the EEMT, and its other members are Ayman Ayoub (Syria), Stefanie Luthy (Switzerland), Antonio Reis (Brazil) and Bong-Scuk Sohn (Republic of Korea).