PM says vote counting, budget possible after local level elections

KATHMANDU: An all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal held discussion on the Constitution Amendment Bill, local level elections, annual budget and vote counting of local level elections, but ended without making any concrete decision on Friday evening.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Dahal told the leaders of the parties in the Parliament that the annual budget could be brought in after the local elections and votes could be counted together after the second phase of elections.

The main opposition CPN-UML has been protesting the decision to hold the elections in two phases and start counting votes soon after the first phase of elections, saying doing so would influence the voters.

The participants aired their views on the agendas that the PM's floated, the Prime Minister's Secretariat said in a statement.

Prime Minister Dahal told the leaders that the government would make optimum efforts to "conclude" the Constitution Amendment Bill, according to the statement. Asking the parties to "celebrate the local level elections", he further said the government would ask the Election Commission of Nepal to carry out vote counting together after holding the elections in two phases.

He tried to convince the parties that the government would bring the annual budget after the elections. He said a process would be initiated to amend the constitutional provision regarding the date of annual budget in order to bring the budget after the second phase of elections in agreement with all the parties.

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, party treasurer and Minister Sita Devi Yadav; CPN-UML leader Agni Kharel and chief whip Bhanubhakta Dhakal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party leader Pashupati Shamsher Rana, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav, Rastriya Janata Party leaders Mahanta Thakur, Rajendra Mahato, Anil Kumar Jha and top leaders of other parties had taken part in the meeting.

Emerging from the meeting, UML chief whip Dhakal said many leaders opined that the elections should be in a single phase, and if the elections had to be held in two phases then budget should be brought in and vote counting be done after both the phases of elections.