KATHMANDU, Dec 29: The three major political parties have reached an understanding to fix within a week the date to hold the local election under the new federal setup.
A meeting between the ruling Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN-UML has agreed to announce the local election date after holding talks with the agitating Madhes-based political parties.
“Keeping in view the constitutional deadline for the three sets of elections, which must be held by January 2018, we have agreed to fix the date for local elections within a few days. This will be helpful in dispelling doubts about the three elections being held within the constitutional deadline,” said Maoist Center leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
He also informed that the ruling parties will approach the Madhes-based political parties to seek their nod for the election date.
Madhes-based political parties are against declaring election date without finalizing the fate of the constitution amendment bill, which remains stuck in parliament due to continued House obstruction by the main opposition CPN-UML and other parties.
Earlier, major ruling partner Nepali Congress had been insisting on holding the local polls under the existing setup. “Earlier, the UML also was positive about holding local polls under the existing setup. But the party today [Wednesday] insisted on holding local polls under the new set up. We will discuss this issue in our party,” said NC Senior Leader Ram Chandra Paudel.
However, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba in the meeting said that the party is for declaring the election date at the earliest, regardless of existing or new local setup.
Bhim Rawal, a vice-chairman of the main opposition, UML, said that the party is for holding local polls under the new setup as the commission on local bodies restructuring is finalizing its report. “We proposed holding local polls under the new setup as the restructuring commission has already prepared its report. Other parties are also positive toward the proposal,” said Rawal.
However, after failing to resolve the House stalemate, leaders of the three parties have agreed to continue talks to finalize the fate of the constitution amendment bill and other election-related bills, which are stuck in the House.
Though Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal proposing tabling the constitution amendment bill and election related bills for voting in the House, UML Chairman K P Oli turned down the request, said Shrestha. “Prime Minister proposed that the government is ready to push the amendment bill to a vote even if the opposition can scuttle it, but UML leaders turned down the request to lift their obstruction in the House,” he said.
Following obstruction from the nine opposition political parties, the House meeting on Wednesday was adjourned till Thursday afternoon. Demanding withdrawal of the constitution amendment proposal, opposition parties have been obstructing successive meetings of the parliament for the past several days.