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Local polls by 24 May

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
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Minister for Information and Communications Ram Karki talks to journalists after Thursday night’s cabinet meeting. Photo: RSS

The government has decided to ask the Election Commission (EC) to begin preparations to hold local elections, which haven’t been held for 20 years in Nepal, by May.

After a cabinet meeting late Thursday evening, Minister for Information and Communications Ram Karki told journalists the government will send a letter to the EC to begin preparations to hold local elections no later than 24 May.

Last week, Parliament had passed a bill that allows the government to announce election dates, and not the EC which had earlier sought the right to announce poll dates to ensure that there will be periodic elections. But almost all political parties argued that transition is still not over, and forging a consensus is important for polls rather than following the EC’s election timetable.

But the cabinet meeting that was expected to announce the dates for local polls did not do so because the ruling parties are still unable to forge a consensus with Madhesi parties.

Madhesi parties have pressed the government to announce election dates only after amending the constitution to address their demands for greater representation. The NC-Maoist collation wanted to announce election dates first, and then amend the charter.

Madhesi parties have warned to disrupt elections if they are held without amending the constitution. They may disrupt elections at least in Province 2, if not across the plains. So the government has set up a panel to assess difficulties that the EC might face in Province 2. The panel led by Local Development Minister Hitraj Pandey has Supply Minister Dipak Bohara and Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi as its members.

 

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