KATHMANDU, August 17: Three major parties --Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) -- have reached an understanding on holding both provincial and federal elections by November-end.
During a meeting held at the Prime Minister's Residence, Baluwatar on Wednesday afternoon, the three big parties also reached an understanding on announcing a date within the next few days for holding provincial and federal elections simultaneously.
According to senior Maoist Center leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the three parties have reached an understanding on holding both provincial and federal elections by the end of November. "We have decided to hold both provincial and federal elections the same date. We plan to hold further consultations with the Election Commission on this," he told Republica.
NC senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel said the parties are mulling holding the elections by the third week of November. "We are already running short of time for holding both polls within the constitutional deadline. Since the Election Commission has said that it won't be possible to print two sets of ballot papers for elections in November, we have decided to hold discussions with the election body on this," he said. The parties are in discussions to fix the poll date between November 20 to 23.
On the question of ballot paper, the major parties have floated two options, including recognizing the votes secured in the first past the post for the purposes of the proportional electoral system also, or placing two sets of electoral symbols for each party on the same ballot paper for the FPTP and proportional votes.
"The Election Commission is in favor of the first option. As this denies people their right to vote separately for FPTP and proportional candidates, we have decided to hold consultations with the EC how this right could be honored," Shrestha further said.
During the meeting, the three parties also decided to put the amendment bill to a vote at the earliest. As per the understanding reached between the ruling parties, the amendment bill will be put to vote most likely on Sunday.
The understanding reached among the three parties during the meeting called by the prime minister was shared with other parties during an all-party meeting held immediately after the three-party meeting. Almost all parties present at the meeting took the government's plan to hold the polls by November positively.
The three-party meeting also held discussions on expediting relief and rehabilitation for flood victims across the country. They have decided to mobilize their lawmakers in the field and ask the cocerned government agencies to expedite the relief and rehabilitation work, according to Shrestha.