NA election on February 7

KATHMANDU: The government today decided to hold the National Assembly election on February 7.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held today at Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s official residence in Baluwatar took a decision to this effect, said Minister for Finance Gyanendra Bahadur Karki.

He said the next meeting of the Council of Ministers would appoint governors. According to Minister Karki, the government could not appoint governors today due to lack of basic preparation for the same.

Earlier, Election Commission office bearers had recommended February 8 for NA election.

Minister of Irrigation Sanjaya Kumar Gautam said the government wanted minimum understanding among the major parties to appoint governors and name provisional headquarters of the provinces. “The government wants to forge consensus on these two issues but we have not been able to do so. The government will make more efforts for the same,” Gautam said. He told THT that since people had already hit the streets demanding their cities to be named as provisional headquarters, the government would not unilaterally name the headquarters.

Gautam added that the government would appoint apolitical and popular personalities as governors to make it difficult for the new government to sack them.

A minister told THT that the government would not name provisional headquarters of provinces if other parties did not agree on the names.

The minister said it was up to the Election Commission to decide where in a province it wanted to set up polling centre for the NA election. “As far as the swearing-in of provincial assembly representatives is concerned, the government can host swearing-in ceremonies in Kathmandu also,” the minister said and added that the concerned provincial assemblies would name permanent headquarters of the provinces.

Leaders of CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre had told the government in an all-party meeting yesterday to appoint governors and announce provisional provincial headquarters.

An NC source said the government had proposed Prof Kedar Bhakta Mathema as one of the seven governors but he refused to accept the offer.

Mathema told THT that he would not comment on the matter.

A Nepali Congress source said Mathema did not refuse the offer but said he had already served as an ambassador and VC of the Tribhuwan Committee and was still on some committees. Senior CPN-UML leader Pradip Gyawali told THT that his party leaders had told the government during an all-party meeting that naming provisional headquarters of provinces was the government’s discretionary power and it could use it.

“The government should have respected the people’s mandate and paved the way for the formation of a new government but it has not done so. The government does not need one month to hold NA election,” he added.

He said the government was using consensus as a pretext to escape its responsibility, Gyawali added.

On the issue of the appointment of governors, he said his party would react only after appointment of governors.

(UPDATED)

PM summons emergency cabinet meeting, NA election to be held on Feb 7

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had called for an emergency Cabinet meeting at 4 pm on Friday, according to PM's press coordinator Govinda Pariyar.

The cabinet has decided to hold National Assembly Elections on February 8, 2018.

Election Commission had urged the government to hold the NA election on February 8.