Lawmakers want amendment bill to state poll dates

Kathmandu, January 9

The majority of members of Parliament who took part in a debate on Local Level Election Bill today said the bill should clearly state the dates when civic polls would be held.

Passage of this bill is crucial to hold civic polls on time. Lawmakers said mention of dates for local polls would ensure timely elections.

CPM-UML Lawmaker Sher Bahadur Tamang said long-time vacuum in local leadership had adversely impacted the country’s development efforts and public delivery services. He urged the House to choose ‘fast track’ process to pass the bill promptly, so that poll dates could be declared soon.

Nepal Workers and Peasants’ Party lawmaker Dilli Prasad Kafle said elections to local bodies should be held before the expiry of the term of the existing local bodies. “The trade union leaders of civil service must not be deployed during local elections,” he added.

Hari Prasad Nepal of Nepali Congress opined that there should be no gap of leaders in the local bodies due to absence of local polls as is the case now.

Another NC lawmaker Kamal Parsad Pangeni said government employees were leading the current local bodies without any liability.

Guru Parsad Burlakoti of CPN-UML urged the government to declare local polls as early as possible.

Tek Bahadur Basnet termed the bill a milestone as far as the execution of the constitution was concerned. More than two dozen MPs took part in the debate today.

Replying to questions raised by the MPs, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi said that the bill had been tabled to fulfil the government’s obligation to hold all types of elections.

He also informed that the report by the Local Body Restructuring Committee would be examined once and would be implemented. The House also endorsed the proposal for a clause-wise discussion on Election Offences and Punishment Bill.

The House, however, did not list Constitution Amendment Bill in its business schedule today. The government had tabled this bill yesterday in the Parliament amid protests by the opposition parties.

Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Bharat Raj Gautam said as per Article 274(3) of the constitution, the bill should be published in the gazette to notify the public within 30 days. After this process, the House can start debate on the bill.

House meeting postponed for half-an-hour

KATHMANDU: Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar had to adjourn the House for half hour, due to lack of quorum on Monday. NWPP lawmaker Kafle demanded that the lawmakers present in the House be counted following which the Parliament staffers came to know that the House lacked quorum.

There were only 116 members present in the House. There had to be 33 lawmakers more to meet the quorum. After the adjournment, some MPs and ministers came back to the House. Lawmakers will have a chance to directly pose questions to the PM and ministers.

The Parliament on Monday passed an internal procedure allowing lawmakers to pose direct question to the prime minister and ministers.

According to the procedure, the MPs will be able to ask questions to the PM directly once a month and twice a month to the ministers.