Political parties should field candidates who are honest, competent and have maintained a clean image in society in the by-elections
Just three days are left for filing nominations for the by-elections to 52 vacant posts of people’s representatives, and the major political parties are busy finalising their candidates. The by-elections will be held on November 30. Candidates are required to file their nominations on November 7 as per the election schedule published by the Election Commission (EC). The by-elections are being held to elect a House of Representatives member in Kaski-2, three provincial assembly members in Bhaktapur-1, Baglung-2 and Dang-3 and one for the mayoral post in Dharan Sub-Metropolis. The EC will publish the list of the nominations the same day. Complaints can be lodged against the nominations on November 8. The final list of the candidates for the HoR and provincial assembly members will be made public on November 10 while the final list of candidates for the vacant local level posts will be published on November 13. The by-elections are being held for the said seats that have remained vacant due to deaths, resignation or imprisonment of elected officials.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) held its secretariat meeting on Saturday, and the main opposition Nepali Congress held its office bearers’ meeting on Sunday to finalise the list of candidates recommended by their district, regional coordination committees and provincial bodies. The stakes are high in Kaski-2, which fell vacant following the death of HoR member and minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation Rabindra Adhikari in a chopper crash on February 27. NCP’s Kaski district committee has already recommended his wife, Bidhya Bhattarai, for the vacant HoR seat. Other nationally-recognised parties, such as RJP-Nepal and Samajwadi Party-Nepal, have yet to decide on the candidates for the vacant posts.
The by-elections are being held within two years of the first general elections held two years ago following the promulgation of the new constitution 2015. Periodic and by-elections will strengthen democracy and ensure the rule of law. All the political parties, therefore, should field candidacies from among the best of their cadres and leaders, who have a clean image in the society, are honest and competent enough to contribute to national policy and lawmaking processes. They should, at least, avoid fielding a person as a candidate whose personal record is tainted with financial scandals and criminal offenses. As the local levels have shouldered the responsibility of carrying out local development works, there is no need for the HoR and provincial assembly members to be shouldering the development burden. Instead they must have the ability to make laws and policies. On the other hand, the by-elections should not be viewed as a yardstick to measure the political parties’ popularity as they are being held for a few and different seats of the three tiers of government. The most important thing is to conduct the elections in a free, fair and impartial manner by providing all the candidates a level-playing field so that they can reach out to the electorates without fear and intimidation from rival candidates or parties. The EC should leave no stone unturned in taking action against those violating the election code.
The plunder of the ward office of Kavre’s Namobuddha Municipality-3, allegedly by a political outfit, is deplorable to say the least, and those involved in the looting must be brought to book at the earliest. The ward office was ransacked on Thursday by a group of three dozen persons led by the Kavre district chair of the Former Soldiers Association, affiliated to the Nepali Congress. Although most of the looted items have been returned, according to the association, certain vital documents as well as cash, a laptop and receipt pads are still missing.
The local level today carries out some 27 people-related works, including making recommendations for citizenship certificates and distributing old-age pensions. A ward office keeps minutes of its meetings and important documents related to people’s births and deaths, relationships, and house and rental taxes, among others. Hence, any attempt to loot a ward office with the intention of tampering with these documents is a serious criminal case. The incident is said to be linked with the NC’s campaign to shift the ward office elsewhere. But ransacking the ward office to push for its cause cannot be tolerated.