Published On: September 29, 2016 07:55 AM NPT By: Sangeet Sangroula | @SangeetJourno
“The government is just vaguely saying that it needs to hold all three elections by mid-January, 2018 but has no clear schedules.”
KATHMANDU, Sept 28: Lawmakers have asked the government to immediately come up with a time-bound plan for holding elections for all the three levels--local, provincial and federal--under the new federal setup.
Speaking at a meeting of the Parliament's State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, lawmakers from both the ruling as well as opposition political parties asked the government to make public a clear timeframe for holding elections for all the three levels as envisioned by the new constitution. As per the constitution, the elections of all the three levels must be held by mid-January, 2018.
CPN-UML lawmaker Yagya Sunar said that the government should immediately come up with a timeframe for holding elections for all three levels. “The government is just vaguely saying that it needs to hold all three elections by mid-January, 2018 but has no clear schedules. This shows the elections will not be conducted on time,” he said, adding, “The government should fix dates for all the three elections as soon as possible and make necessary preparations to hold the elections.” Similarly, Rastriya Janamorcha lawmaker and former minister of poverty alleviation Chitra Bahadur KC also asked the government to make public a timeframe for holding elections for all the three levels.
“The previous government had developed a detailed plan for holding elections. But the new government is saying it will hold local polls by mid-April, 2017 and other elections subsequently but it has no proper plan. So, I ask the new government to develop a clear timeframe and act likewise,” he added. Likewise, Nepali Congress lawmaker Arjun Prasad Joshi said that the elections for all three levels are not possible just by saying the government is making necessary preparations to hold the elections. “And we also do not know if the government is working on the election-related bills as the Election Commission has been saying it needs necessary laws on time for holding elections. So, we ask the government to come up with a specific time-bound plan for completing all the necessary tasks and hold elections,” he added.
Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi and Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav were also present at the meeting. The lawmakers had asked the government to come up with a time-bound plan after Home Minister Nidhi only said the government will hold elections but failed to present a clear time-frame for holding them.Likewise, the lawmakers also criticized the government for failing to register all the election-related bills in parliament.
Following the discussion, the House committee also decided to direct the government to immediately table all the election-related bills in parliament and come up with a time-bound plan for holding the elections. Lawmakers at the meeting had also asked the home minister if the commission formed to fix the number and boundaries of local units will accept the new guidelines issued by the government regarding local body restructuring.
Nidhi claimed that the commission has no option other than to follow the government's guidelines as the new constitution itself has given such mandate to the government.
“There are rumors that the government is trying to interfere with the independence of the commission. But there is a constitutional provision that the commission should restructure local units based on the guidelines provided by the government,” he said.
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