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4 parties ‘agree’ to hold polls in Nov

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KATHMANDU, APR 14 -

The four major political forces have agreed in principle to hold fresh Constituent Assembly elections in mid-November citing the time constraint, the delay in clearing legal hurdles and differences on some provisions of electoral laws.

Multiple sources close to the party and the government said mid-November will be formally recommended as the poll date through the High-level Political Mechanism after a few weeks.

“Polls are not possible in June as we planned so the vote date will be announced for between November 15-21,” said CPN-UML Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam, who is also a member of the Committee.

Gautam revealed that the parties had already agreed to hold the polls in November but had not been made it public after the formation of the Khil Raj Regmi-led election government. “Everyone knew it was impossible to hold elections in June but nobody dared to publicly say so,” said Gautam.

UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha said with no chance for June elections, parties have no alternatives but to announce the poll date for November. “The Mechanism will declare the polls for November once Prachandaji returns from China,” said Shrestha.

Earlier, the cross-party taskforce, comprising the four major forces, had recommended June 21 as the election date. But the government, which has not yet cleared legal hurdles for elections, has been struggling to announce the date with parties divided over provisions in a crucial election ordinance.

Sources close to the government said the date will be declared once key electoral Acts are promulgated and conducive environment for elections is created with the participation of parties opposed to elections.

A sitting minister told the Post that Chairman of the Interim Election Government Regmi has shared his plan to hold elections in November with the chiefs of the major parties and the President. Regmi, who met President Ram Baran Yadav on Saturday, conveyed the difficulties of a June election. “The government will announce the poll date when the election body comes up with an election calendar and the chances of conducting elections are ensured,” said government spokesperson Madhav Poudel.

The Election Commission has also ruled out the possibilities of holding polls in June. “Currently, we don’t see the possibility of holding polls in June and the statement of the chairman [Khil Raj Regmi] also indicated the same. So, we are preparing to hold polls in November,” said Election Commission (EC) Spokesperson Madhu Regmi.

During a meeting with the head of the election government, President Yadav and party leaders, the EC informed that elections would not be conducted in June as scheduled due to the delay in promulgating electoral laws, the lack of consensus among parties and obstructions to the ongoing voter registration process. Major political forces are still divided on electoral provisions including a threshold for proportional representation and the criteria disqualifying candidates with a criminal background from contesting elections.

The Constituent Assembly Member Ordinance 2013, forwarded to the government by the EC some two weeks ago, is still under consideration at the Cabinet following differences among parties.

The government is preparing to iron out differences by holding a joint meeting with representatives of the parties and the EC.

Poudel said that the government will forward the ordinance within the upcoming week. The election body has set a one percent threshold to be eligible for the proportional electoral system and allows those convicted of crimes to contest elections only six-years after the completion of their term. The ordinance also requires that candidates show property details before contesting elections and deposit Rs 5,000, up from Rs 3,000, to file their candidacy.

The Maoists and various smaller parties have been opposing the provisions for threshold, property disclosure and time bar for convicts while the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML are in favour of the EC’s formulations.

Following differences, the government, which forwarded two election-related ordinances—ordinance on Amendment to Some Election Related Acts 2013 and the Ordinance on Amendment to Nepal Citizenship 2013—has placed the CA Member Act 2013 on hold. The EC has also expressed serious reservations regarding objections from political parties over the formulated laws.

A nation-wide voter registration process, which began some three years ago, has been stalled for the last two weeks owing to obstructions by the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist.

Posted on: 2013-04-15 10:01


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