THT 10 YEARS AGO: Process for CA election kicks off

Kathmandu, February 20, 2008

The process for the April 10 Constituent Assembly (CA) election began today with 38 of the 74 registered parties submitting their closed list of candidates for the proportional system of elections to the Election Commission.

While the two major parties, the Nepali Congress and the UML, submitted their lists late in the afternoon, the CPN (Maoist) submitted its list with much fanfare; a huge procession of party cadres shouting slogans and waving party flags accompanied chairman Prachanda to the EC premises.

All the major parties, the Rastriya Prachatantra Party and the pro-royalist RPP (N) submitted lists of 335 candidates. However, none of the agitating Madhesi factions, including the Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party, the MPRF (Yadav), the Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhawana Party and Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) turned up at the EC. Asked what would happen to the parties failing to submit their closed-list today, EC spokesperson Laxman Bhattarai said: “All that we can say is that since the deadline expired at 5 pm today, we cannot say anything outright.” Bhattarai also said that the EC has not received any request from the government on extending the deadline. “The atmosphere at the EC has enthused the parties and the people now are confident that the election is going to take place,” UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal told reporters after submitting his party’s closed-list.

Talks between Madhesi leaders, govt fail

Kathmandu, February 20, 2008

The Madhesi leaders and the representatives of the Prime Minister held talks here today, but the demand for Madhes as a single unit and a change in election law remained the sticking points.

One of the Madhesi leaders present in the negotiation said on condition of anonymity that the two sides could not reach a pact on those “key” issues.

The Madhesi leaders, among other things, have demanded to make a change in election laws so that they, while fielding their candidates, are not required to follow the principle of inclusiveness for up to 50 per cent of seats in the CA polls.

In the existing law, parties are not required to be inclusive for up to 20 per cent of seats. In the meeting, Amod Upadhyay, Dr Shekhar Koirala and Mahesh Acharya represented the government. Upendra Yadav, Coordinator of MJF (Yadav), Mahanth Thakur, and Mahendra Prasad Yadav of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party and others represented the newly formed United Madhesi Democratic Front.

According to the source, the government did not agree to recognise Madhes as a single unit and to make changes in election laws. “The government is trying to hold Constituent Assembly polls without us, the three factions of UMDF. This will be counterproductive,” one of the Madhesi leaders said on condition of anonymity.