Bhattarai lays out what ought to be done for holding elections

Kathmandu, February 28

Naya Shakti-Nepal Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai today cited six preconditions for holding local polls, including the passage of a revised constitution amendment bill.

Presenting a concept paper at an interaction organised by his party, the former prime minister said that local polls should be held by provincial governments and if that was not possible then all three types of elections — parliamentary, provincial and local level polls — should be held simultaneously.

Bhattarai said holding all types of elections would also save the government of a lot of money. Holding three types of elections separately could cost the government almost a trillion rupees, he argued. Bhattarai demanded that an all-party government be formed to hold polls in a fair and effective manner.

“Such a government will have participation of political parties and I do not mean that such government should be led by the chief justice,” he clarified.

Bhattarai said an all-party government was needed for holding polls for the ruling parties lacked credibility and were indulging in corrupt practices. Bhattarai said the ruling parties did not have the capacity to hold polls in a way that could promote unity.

He also said the government must provide certain fund to political parties during elections and it should also strictly enforce compliance with election code of conduct.

Bhattarai also urged parties to amend the constitution now to go for directly elected president and a fully proportional parliamentary elections to ensure stability, development and prosperity.

He said the government had not yet prepared conducive environment for local level polls. “We want the polls to help strengthen national unity. Polls should also address people’s dissatisfaction against the new constitution,” Bhattarai said and added that political forces should not forget that Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis had been agitating against the provisions of the constitution for 40 days before the constitution was promulgated and these forces were still agitating against the constitution.

“Polls will not be meaningful unless these forces take part in the election,” he added. Bhattarai wondered if the government wanted to hold polls in Tarai-Madhes without addressing the demands of the people of the region. “Does the government want to hold polls by using force against a large chunk of the population? Will a part of the country be able to live in peace if another part of the country is pushed into conflict?” he wondered.

BRB’s prescription

  • Pass a revised statute amendment bill
  • Let provincial bodies hold local polls, OR
  • Have in place an all-party government to hold all three types of polls simultaneously
  • Provide fund to political parties during elections
  • Amend constitution to go for directly elected president
  • Have a fully proportional parliamentary elections