Nepal | May 22, 2019

Parties mulling civic polls under existing structure

Amendment to constitution needed to do so: PM’s adviser

Prakash Acharya

Kathmandu, December 12

Three major parties the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre have begun consultations on forging consensus for holding local bodies’ elections.

NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and UML Chair KP Sharma Oli’s yesterday’s meeting focused on holding civic polls at the earliest, according to UML leader Subas Chandra Nembang, who accompanied Oli in the meeting.

Addressing a programme of the Nepal Students Union today, Deuba said elections could be held under the existing structure of the local bodies, as restructuring of the local bodies was being debated. “I held talks with UML Chairman Oli on holding elections and implementing the constitution.

Oli is ready to hold local polls under the existing structure of VDCs and municipalities if the issue of restructuring of local bodies cannot be resolved at the earliest. There can be a national consensus on this,” he said.

Nembang said, “UML has already urged the PM to announce dates for local polls. We will cooperate to let elections related bills pass in the Parliament without any delay.”

UML wants to hold polls under new arrangements to be made by the Local Bodies’ Restructuring Commission, Nembang said. “But if the ruling parties are not comfortable holding polls under the new arrangement, we are ready to go for elections even under the existing structure of the local bodies,” said Nembang.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has given top priority to hold polls under restructured local bodies, but he is ready for holding polls under old structure of civic bodies if the NC and UML agree, said PM Dahal’s Chief Political Adviser Chakrapani Khanal.

If local polls are to be held under the old structure minor amendment to the constitution is needed, Khanal said.

The LBRC is likely to submit its report within this week although the Madhes-based parties are opposing the restructuring of local bodies without addressing their concerns, said LBRC member Sunil Ranjan Singh.

The Madhes-based parties have been saying that they would not let local polls be held until their demands, including redrawing of boundaries of provinces, are met.

Meanwhile, PM Dahal today directed his party leaders and cadres to be prepared for local election, as the government was preparing to hold local polls by mid-April.

‘Move against federalism’

KATHMANDU: Senior advocate and Nepali Congress lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari said if the parties decided to hold local polls under the old structure local bodies would gradually lose their federal character.

“The new constitution has given legislative, executive and judicial role to local bodies.

If polls are held under the existing structure, local bodies will be unable to fulfill the role. It will be a violation of the constitution,” Adhikari said.

A version of this article appears in print on December 13, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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