UML, Maoist Center warn against postponing polls

Published On: October 13, 2017 05:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 13: The CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) have warned against any attempts to postpone the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections. 

In a meeting with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Thursday, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said that the elections should be held as planned on November 26 and December 7 arguing that deferring the elections at this point would invite constitutional crisis and imperil the nation's democracy.
The constitution makes it binding for the government to conclude the local, provincial and federal parliament elections by January 21, 2018. 

Oli and Dahal also urged Prime Minister Deuba not to reshuffle the cabinet ahead of the elections. They argued that such a move would go against the elections code of conduct and also hamper the elections.
The warning from leaders of the second and the third largest parties in parliament comes amid Prime Minister Deuba's preparation to sack Maoist Center's ministers from his cabinet before the elections.
NC leaders have been separately consulting legal experts, smaller parties and party's think tank to discuss legal and political consequences of removing Maoist Center ministers.
A section of NC leadership has been lobbying for either deferring the polls or holding it in single phase on December 7.

During the meeting held at his office in Singha Durbar, the prime minister said that the government was fully committed to holding the elections on schedule. He also clarified that NC would not do anything that contradict the constitution and the election code of conduct, UML Vice Chairman Subas Nembang told reporters.

The meeting has also decided to resolve differences over the national assembly election bill through mutual consensus among the three parties. A bill pertaining to national assembly election is still stuck in parliament.

NC and UML are at odds over including a provision over the single transferable vote (STV). Under the single transferable voting system, candidates are ranked and the strength of the parties in parliament reflects their strength in the country. According to the Electoral Reform Society, a website focused on electoral system, the STV system gives MPs a strong local link. 

While NC has stood in support of STV system, UML has strongly opposed it. NC senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel told reporters that a joint panel comprising Deuba, Oli and Dahal would sort out outstanding differences regarding the national assembly election bill. 

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