By-polls uncertain due to govt delay in clearing legal hurdles
November 17, 2018 07:58 AM
KATHMANDU, Nov 17: The fate of by-elections in various constituencies remain uncertain as the government has not been able to clear the legal hurdles and announce election dates.
Details provided by the Election Commission at the parliamentary State Affairs and Good Governance Committee show 27 local government seats and one provincial assembly seat are currently vacant. Most of the local body seats fell vacant after the elected members died in accidents while some were convicted of various crimes and are in jail. Likewise, some positions fell vacant after the elected representatives were elected to higher bodies including the District Coordination Committees.
Likewise, following the death of Hari Sharan Lamichhane due to brain hemorrhage, his provincial assembly seat, Bhaktapur 1(b), remains vacant.
Nepal’s climatic condition offers only two windows — winter (December November) and spring (May-June) — for holding elections. Election officials say chances of holding by-elections within this years’ winter seems impossible in the context of the government failure to remove the legal hurdles and announce election date.
Election Commission officials have asked the government to remove the legal hurdles as soon as possible so that they could hold the by-elections. They said they have already written to the line ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs, to pave the way for holding the elections.
Since the existing election law has no provision of conducting by-election to elect ward chairperson, the Election Commission has asked the government to make necessary amendments to the law.
“We have asked the government to clear the legal hurdle to pave the way for holding by-elections. The government has not yet responded so far,” said Election Commission spokesman Dipak Subedi.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Home Affairs Ram Krishna Subedi said the government will take necessary steps after consultations.
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav has asked the government to either mandate the election body to fix poll date or fix a poll date in constitution itself to ensure periodic elections and by-elections. “This is the only option to ensure timely elections,” said Yadav speaking at a function organized in Kathmandu Friday.