Fact sheet on United Nations support to Nepal's Constituent Assembly election
1. Overview
2. UNMIN's Mandate and Activities
3. Electoral Assistance
4. Arms Monitoring and Mine Action
5. Civil Affairs
6. Human Rights
7. Background on the Constituent Assembly Election
8. Election Facts and Figures

1. Overview

"The Constituent Assembly election planned for 10 April 2008 is a critical milestone in the peace process aimed at building a more inclusive and democratic future in Nepal following a decade of armed conflict.

Through its special political Mission in Nepal, UNMIN, the United Nations is providing various forms of assistance to help ensure that the election is held in a free and fair atmosphere.

This includes both technical advice to the national electoral authorities, as well as the work of UN arms monitors and civil affairs teams deployed around the country to promote an open and secure atmosphere for the polls.

UNMIN's pre-election reports are posted on the Mission's website at www.unmin.org.np. In its first report, dated 22 March 2008, UNMIN, while expressing concern about increasing violence within the election campaign, noted that Nepal is today better positioned than at any time since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in November 2006 to hold a credible Constituent Assembly election. In a second report, dated 30 March 2008, the Mission concluded that campaigning continued in a relatively peaceful manner across much of the country, but raised concerns about increasing violence, intimidation and clashes between political parties in the context of the electoral process. UNMIN has called on all parties to fully adhere to the electoral code of conduct, and has called on forces tempted to disrupt the election to respect the overwhelming desire of the people of Nepal, supported by the international community, to see the election of the Constituent Assembly as the democratic basis for determining the future of the nation.


2. UNMIN's Mandate and Activities

UNMIN is a special political mission established by UN Security Council Resolution 1740 at the request of the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed on 21 November 2006, ending the armed conflict. The mission began its operations in the country in January 2007, and is headed by Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Nepal. Its mandate currently runs through July 2008.

The mission's headquarters is in Kathmandu, with regional headquarters in Biratnagar, Pokhara, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi. Currently, UNMIN has a total of just over 1,000 staff including some 186 arms monitors and 238 UN Volunteers.

For several years before the establishment of UNMIN, the Secretary-General of the United Nations was closely engaged through the UN Department of Political Affairs, in efforts to encourage a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal was established in May 2005, with the aim of protecting human rights in the context of the armed conflict and threats to democratic rights. Since the May 2006 ceasefire, OHCHR has focused on monitoring human rights aspects of the peace process.

The UN Country Team in Nepal, coordinated by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, also supports the peace process. It includes the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), International Labor Organization (ILO) and World Food Programme (WFP), and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which support and implement development programmes or assist in response to emerging humanitarian needs.


Electoral Assistance

UNMIN's Electoral Assistance Office support Nepal's Election Commission at the national, regional and district levels. The Mission has provided advice, as requested, throughout the different stages of the electoral process, on issues including voter registration, training of electoral staff, information technology, policy development, donor coordination, logistics and voter education. The UNDP has assisted the Election Commission with the establishment of the Electoral Observation Resource Centre to help support and coordinate observer groups.

Prior to the Constituent Assembly election, UNMIN's District Electoral Officers will assist Election Commission officers in all the districts in the final preparations for and conduct of the election.

Separately, an independent team of election monitors appointed by the Secretary-General, the Electoral Expert Monitoring Team (EEMT), has been making periodic visits to Nepal to review all technical aspects of the electoral process and conduct of the election. The EEMT will be present during the polls and the counting period. Its public reports are also available on UNMIN's website.



Arms Monitoring and Mine Action

In early 2007, UNMIN military observers supervised the registration of Maoist combatants and storage of their weapons in cantonment sites around the country, as well as an equivalent number of Nepal Army weapons. They maintain a 24-hour presence at the seven main cantonment sites, as well as one Nepal Army barracks. The arms monitoring takes place under the terms of the Agreement on the Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (AMMAA) signed by the Government and the Maoists in December 2006, and witnessed by the UN. In addition, ten Joint Monitoring Teams, each comprising one UN arms monitor, one member of the Nepal Army and one member of the Maoist army, conduct regular liaison, monitoring and investigation in the districts. In the lead-up to the election, UNMIN has strengthened its monitoring in all 28 Maoist army cantonments, as well as at Nepal Army barracks and installations. Arms monitors will be present at voting in all cantonment sites on election day.

UNMIN has brought mine action experts from around the world to work with both the Nepal Army and the Maoist army to assist them in ridding Nepal of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to international standards in safe destruction procedures. UNMIN assisted the Nepal Army to develop a rapid response capacity to respond to reports of IEDs remaining in the community. UNMIN and UNICEF assisted the Government to establish a national authority on mines and IEDs under the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
Mine Action
Arms Monitoring


Civil Affairs

Civil affairs officers carry out four main activities that are common to UN civil affairs mandates: monitoring, reporting, liaison with State and non-State actors, and good offices functions where requested and appropriate. Civil affairs officers monitor the political space in the districts, in particular the ability of all parties to campaign without intimidation in all parts of the country. They travel throughout the country, and by their monitoring and reporting, civil affairs officers aim to promote a free and fair atmosphere for the election. UNMIN also has small teams of child protection and gender advisers in the regions, who work closely with civil affairs teams.
Human Rights

The OHCHR in Nepal monitors and investigates human rights conditions throughout the country, including in the context of the electoral process, and also conducts legal analysis of policies and legislation. OHCHR also cooperates extensively with local and regional human rights organizations. The parties to the CPA expressly requested OHCHR to take responsibility for monitoring the human rights situation during the peace process, and UNMIN works closely with OHCHR in this regard.

Human Rights


Background on the Constituent Assembly Election

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by the Nepali parties on 21 November 2006 ended a decade-long civil war that killed an estimated 13,000 people and resulted in 30,000 former rebels voluntarily entering into cantonments, the Nepal Army confining itself to barracks and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) joining a coalition of originally eight parties (now seven) to form an interim government.

One of the key requirements of the CPA is the holding of a Constituent Assembly election to determine a new constitution and restructure the state. The Constituent Assembly will also determine the future of the monarchy which has ruled Nepal for its 239-year history.

The Constituent Assembly election will allow the Nepali people to elect representatives from political parties as well as independent candidates. Originally planned for June 2007, the election has been postponed twice.

Following an agreement in December between the Maoists and the other parties of the Interim Government, the election was rescheduled for 10 April 2008.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)


Election Facts and Figures

Nepal covers an area of 147,000 sq km divided in 240 electoral constituencies.

The Election Commission (EC) of Nepal has registered 17.6 million eligible voters, of which 8.7 million are female and 8.9 million are male.

A total of 57 parties will contest the election

The total number of Constituent Assembly seats is 601, of which 335 will be elected through a proportional representation system; 240 seats elected through a first-pastthe- post electoral system; and 26 seats are to be appointed by the Council of Ministers.

A total of 20,882 polling centres will be set up in 9,821 polling locations. Some 240,000 staff will be deployed for polling day.

More than 40 million ballot papers for both electoral systems will be printed. Polling kits have been dispatched to all 75 districts. Materials to areas with no road access were sent by helicopter, and some further distributed by foot and pack-animal.

Some 9,000 Voter Education Volunteers have been mobilized in villages, Development Committees and municipalities starting in February 2008.

Some 90 international staff (including 70 District Electoral Advisers (UNVs) and as many as 85 national staff are working in the UNMIN electoral assistance office.

Some 150 domestic observation organizations have been accredited and approximately 92,000 domestic observers will be active on election-day.

As many as 700 accredited international observers are expected on election day.

Source: UNMIN 2008
Prepared by UNMIN, the UN Department of Political Affairs and the Peace and Security Section of the UN Department of Public Information.
Location: Chitwan, Nepal


External link
UN Nepal Information