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Breakthrough in Kathmandu

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
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Pic: RSS

After two days of intense negotiations, the ruling coalition and the  Madhesi Front have finally forged a consensus on local elections so they can be held in two rounds next month.

The two sides have agreed on the following: a) the government will amend the Constitution by passing a bill that is now in Parliament, b) but it will be revised before being tabled in the full House to address Madhesi grievances, c) Tarai-centric parties will participate in local elections, d) but polls will now be held in two rounds, e) the Madhesi Front will call off its agitation.

Nepali Congress leader Krishna Sitaula told journalists: “It is a deal, and local elections have become certain now.”

Although the Maoist-NC and the Front had reached an understanding on these issues on Friday itself, they spent more than five hours negotiating over the details of constitution amendment on Saturday. The consensus looked possible after the ruling coalition agreed to revise the amendment bill and conduct local elections in two rounds to
give Madhesi parties time to prepare in their constituencies.

Now, the first phase of local elections – first in 19 years — will take place on the previously stipulated date of 14 May. The second round of elections, supposedly in Province 2 where Madhesi parties are perceived to be strong, will take place later in May or early June.

The main opposition UML has already given its nod that the polls can be held in two rounds if Madhesi parties agreed to participate in it. The agreement is likely to be signed on Sunday when two top Madhesi leaders – Mahanta Thakur of the newly unified Rashtriya Janata Dal and Upendra Yadav of Federal Socialist Party – will arrive in
Kathmandu from Janakpur. They were constantly in touch with their party colleagues in Baluwatar over phone.

Madhesi parties had rejected Nepal’s new constitution pushed through by the Big Three parties. Backed by New Delhi that also overtly expressed its displeasure over Nepal’s new charter, they spearheaded a six-month agitation in the Tarai during which more than 50 people were killed in 2015.

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One Response to “Breakthrough in Kathmandu”

  1. Marjolaine Hohberger on Says:

    Looking forward to Comrade Bhattarais good management then…Ohm Shanti.

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