Kathmandu, December 28

The three major parties the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre today agreed in principle to announce dates of civic polls under the new structure within a week and hold the polls between April end and mid-May.

The main opposition party, CPN-UML, however, rejected the government’s request to end the House obstruction for letting the bills related to constitution amendment and elections be tabled.

“We have agreed to hold elections at all three levels – local, provincial and parliamentary – by mid-December 2017. We are planning to conduct all polls one month ahead of 21 January 2018 deadline stipulated in the constitution, as it is difficult to hold polls after that due to extreme cold in some places,” said CPN-Maoist Centre’s leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha following a meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar.

The UML and CPN-MC are for holding polls under the new structure while the NC is okay with new, as well as old structure for polls, according to Shrestha.

The government will hold talks with agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front tomorrow and try to bring them on board the elections, according to Shrestha.

UDMF leaders, in a meeting with the ruling parties held yesterday, had said they were ready to go to polls but only after the constitution amendment bill was passed.

UML has agreed to let the House pass election-related bills only if the constitution amendment bill is removed from the list of business schedule of the Parliament. “However, the ruling parties have not agreed to remove the amendment bill from the business list. Maybe the parties can find common point on clearing the way for the election bills after the poll date is announced,” Shrestha said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi said although the parties discussed the issues they were yet to reach conclusion.

“Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba requested CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli to clear the House obstruction to let the bills related to constitution amendment and election be tabled and conclude the impeachment motion against chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority. Oli, however, said his party was ready to support election-related bills but not the constitution amendment bill,” Nidhi said.

PM Dahal had requested the UML to forge consensus in a package on the prominent issues, according to Rawal.

The UML has been obstructing the House since the government registered the bill in the Parliament Secretariat on November 29 to address the concerns of Madhes-based parties.

The UML claims that the amendment was not necessary, as people of Province 5 were against splitting the province as proposed in the bill. The UML itself is against splitting Province 5.