HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A delegation headed by chairman of the European Parliament for South Asia Jean Lambert today held parleys with political parties and the Election Commission on the latest political developments and the possibility of holding elections on November 22.
The delegation met second-rung leaders of the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Madhesh-based parties and took their views on the scenario after the May 27 dissolution of the Constitution Assembly.
“The delegation expressed interest in the status of the statute framing and the peace process,” said NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat, who, together with NC leader Minendra Rijal, held parleys with the EU delegation. Mahat said the EU team wanted to know how the processes unfold.
Mahat said they apprised the delegation that the CA dissolution was the result of a Maoist poly. “Still, there is no alternative to politics of consensus for a future course,” he said.
Mahat held that consensus is a must for forming a new government that will make preparations for the elections.
NC leader further suggested holding elections for the parliament instead of the new constitution-making body.
The three-member delegation also held discussions with second-tier leaders of CPN-UML and chair of the MJF-Nepal Upendra Yadav.
It is scheduled to discuss latest political developments with UCPN-Maoist leaders next.
Separately, the delegation met Acting Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety and discussed preparations for the upcoming polls. According to Uprety, the EU delegation pledged to continue electoral support for Nepal if required. Lambert had visited Nepal in November last year as well.
Responding to the EU team’s queries on the possibility of holding polls on November 22, Uprety said the EC is ready to hold elections on November 22, provided the government clears legal hurdlers for the same. He said the onus is on the political parties to creates a conducive environment for the polls.
EC has urged the government to amend poll-related laws four months before the poll date so that elections can take place. “We are not sure whether the elections will take place, though we have heard that the government has initiated the process for amending poll-related laws”, Acting Election Commissioiner Uprety told this daily.
EC has sought suitable amendments in legal provisions for the polls by July 22. To conduct polls on November 22, the government needs to amend 13 provisions of the Election Act, Interim Constitution, Election Commission Act, Voters’ List Act and Constituent Assembly Election Act within two days now.
At the meeting, the European delegates promised to increase funding to the Election Commission for its programmes intended to strengthen democracy and promote good governance.