7-13 June 2013 #659

Cliffhanger

SUNIR PANDEY
IT STINGS: Thirty-four-year-old Dorje Bhote of Chumasur, Sankhuwasabha, collects honey from wild bee colonies in Chyamtang village. The honey is sold across the border in China for Rs 3,000 per beer bottle.
Two and half months ago when Khil Raj Regmi was installed in Singha Darbar at the behest of the four parties he was given a one point agenda: hold elections.

But it is now increasingly difficult to tell whether Regmi is supposed to work independently, or just follow the orders of the four-party cartel that put him in office. After writs were filed demanding Regmi’s resignation from the post of chief justice, the Supreme Court has asked political parties to explain why he was made PM.

Differences between Regmi and the politicians are coming out in the open and leaders within the NC and UML are openly divided about the former CJ’s dual role. The parties are bickering among themselves over election technicalities and the High Level Political Committee meeting this week did not make any headway.

After initially agreeing that the new parliament should have 491 members, the Maoists are now backtracking and the NC and UML don’t want parties who don’t win even one per cent of the votes in their constituencies getting seats in the parliament. The Maoists and Madhesis also want cadre who have criminal charges to be able to stand in elections.

Despite the foot-dragging, there have been some signs of progress: 139 parties have already registered at the Election Commission. Although there is no reason why polls can’t be held in November, there is a visible lack of political will to iron out the legal and logistical issues.

Sunir Pandey

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