Only polls can save nation, say leaders

Kathmandu, August 10:

With only 105 days to go for the constituent assembly elections, leaders of major political parties today said there was no alternative to the polls.

“Only 105 days are left for the polls and if not held on November 22, the country will plunge into anarchy,” said CPN-UML central committee member Pradip Gyawali at the Sambad Club.

He said the interim constitution, interim parliament and the interim government were all temporary and, as such, they will not be able to maintain stability in the country beyond November.

All the political parties must concentrate on the polls, he said, adding that election fever would automatically grip the country after the parties launch their campaign.

On the Maoists’ preconditions of a proportional representation system and declaration of a republic before the polls, Gyawali, who was a member of the government team that held talks with the Maoists, said: “The preconditions are like harvests that are brought out to dry after the sun has set.”

He also revealed that the Maoists never raised those issues when the eight parties discussed the election system and the future of monarchy.

Sujata Koirala, chief of the Nepali Congress’s foreign department, said the elections would be held on time. She also expressed the hope that the problems in the eastern Tarai would be resolved soon, as the government was doing internal homework to address them. She said Maoist obsession with the people’s revolt and their commitment to peace were contradictory.

She further said that anarchy would prevail in the country if a republic was declared before the polls. The demand for a proportional representation system of election is impractical as it would make the constituent assembly a jatiya sabha (ethnic assembly), she said. She also blamed the Maoists for the Cabinet’s inability to take decisions on important issues.

Maoist leader Devendra Poudel said his party would not give up the “people’s desire for a republic.” He said his party would take up the issue of a proportional representation system and a republican order in the next eight-party meeting.

Saying that the state must be bold enough to maintain law and order and that the United Nations Mission in Nepal should play an effective role in monitoring the elections, NC-D leader Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat urged the Maoists to wait for three months for a decision on monarchy.

“The Maoists should not fret about the palace disrupting the elections, as the constitution now has a provision whereby the institution can be thrown out by a two-thirds majority of parliament if it tries to disrupt the polls,” Mahat said.

CP Mainali of the United Left Front urged all the parties to be prepared for the polls.

On the Tarai issue, Mainali said all the parties must go to the region jointly. He, however, said some partners of the eight-party alliance were reluctant to go to the Tarai along with the Maoists.

Prioritise polls: UK envoy

KATHMANDU: British ambassador to Nepal Dr Andrew Hall, who also holds the EU presidency in Nepal, on Friday urged all to concentrate on Constituent Assembly (CA) election. He said that the CA election is the only way to address issues of the marginalised and the excluded. Dr Hall said this after a function at the British embassy. — HNS

Elections must: UN official

KATHMANDU: A senior UN official, Kul Chandra Gautam, said on Friday the polls must take place on time and added that the UN is ready to support it. Gautam said this after meeting Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan. Asked if the UN will be involved in the resolution of the Tarai issue, he said the UN will get involved only on government’s request.— HNS