Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Nepal: UK aid helps transforms voting system in Nepal

Source: United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)- More than 13 million voters in Nepal will be registered on one of the world's safest and most comprehensive electoral rolls, International Development Minister Mike Foster announced Monday 5th April 2010.

The new registration process will store the details of every person who is eligible to vote on a new electronic system funded by the Department for International Development.

The new project will make sure that all voters can take part in the crucial first round of elections after the new constitution is agreed.

At the same time, the new electoral list will help prevent election fraud by recording the details of every voter in Nepal on a new online database.

While previous elections have been declared free and fair, recording voters' photographs and fingerprints as well as their name and address will make sure even villagers from remote districts can be quickly identified at the ballot box. This will give Nepal one of most secure electoral lists in the world.

The UK will help provide 1,000 laptops, fingerprint scanners and web cameras which will be taken across the country to record people's details by the Nepali Election Commission, supported by the United Nations Development Programme.

More than 1.3 million people in 16 remote Himalayan districts of Nepal will be registered over the next two months, which will involve carrying the equipment up into the high mountains to register voters in some of the most remote communities in the world. DFID expects all voters in Nepal to be registered by summer 2011. Himalayan districts are being targeted before the Monsoon season makes them difficult to access.

International Development Minister Mike Foster said:

"As voters in the UK prepare to head to the polls in coming weeks, people in Nepal will be adding their names to one of the safest electoral rolls in the world.

"The new constitution and the first elections will mark a crucial turning point for Nepal as it puts decades of conflict behind it. That's why we are creating a new registration scheme to protect against election fraud.

"We hope the current political stalemate will be resolved quickly and the new constitution agreed in time to pave the way for free and fair elections. The UK stands ready to help in any way it can to support Nepal at this critical time in its history."

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