EC says it needs preparation time of 120 days and local reps' tenure ends on May 1


The Election Commission has urged the government to announce the date for local polls in the next one week.

Chief election commissioner and other EC office bearers held a meeting with political parties today and told them that they had urged the PM to hold local elections on April 27 and May 5, according to a press release issued by the EC.

Earlier, the poll panel had urged Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to hold local polls in one phase on April 27 or in two phases on April 27 and May 5.

The poll panel said that in the run-up to the local polls, the poll panel would have to carry out 53 activities for which it would need a preparation time of 120 days. It said if the government did not announce poll dates in the next one week, it would be difficult for the EC to carry out preparatory work for elections.

Local representatives' tenure will end on May 19.

The EC said that the constitution and the laws did not envisage any vacuum in the local levels and if local polls were not held in time, service delivery could be adversely affected. The EC said that the federal government and the provincial government had no power to shoulder the responsibility of local levels. It added that the Local Government Operation Act had neither envisaged operation of local government by any other entity nor was there any provision to extend the tenure of local representatives.

The poll panel told political leaders that if local polls were not held in time it would have negative effects on democracy and the federal system, key functions of local governments, including budgetary allocations and lawmaking process, would be adversely affected, and recommendation letters issued by local levels and ward offices would not be issued to service seekers.

After the meeting, Nepali Congress leader Ramesh Lekhak told mediapersons that the government was ready to hold elections.

He said the government needed to amend some election related laws, but it could not do so due to the continued House obstruction by the CPN-UML.

Deputy General Secretary of the UML, Bishnu Rimal, however, said that elections could be held under prevailing laws. He said if the government delayed local polls on any pretext, it could create political uncertainty and the local polls might be put off for long as had happened earlier.

UML leader Pradeep Gyawali said at a press interaction here today that the government was trying to delay local polls as it had not announced the poll date(s) as suggested by the EC. He, however, added that his party would not let the government delay polls.

A version of this article appears in the print on January 15, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.