Demarcation report must be in 120 days before local polls: EC

Published On: June 28, 2016 02:15 AM NPT By: Sangeet Sangroula  | @SangeetJourno

KATHMANDU,June28: The Election Commission has said that it should get the report of the commission on local bodies numbers and demarcation at least 120 days ahead of the date for local polls.

It says the report is required to carry out all the necessary logistical as well as legal preparatory works for successful conduction of the elections across the country in accordance with the new constitution.

Acting Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav during a meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli argued that the report is vital also to amend and formulate all the election-related laws and regulations for holding the local elections.

Talking to media, Yadav said that if the government wants to hold the local elections, it should amend the Local Body Election Procedure Act 1992 and the restructuring commission also needs to submit its report making recommendations on the numbers and boundaries of village councils, municipalities and special, protected or autonomous areas for holding the local elections any time soon.

"The amended act and the commission's report are fundamental components for holding local body elections in line with the new constitution," Yadav said, adding, the Election Commission is ready to hold elections by November-December if the government amends all the necessary laws and regulations and the restructuring commission submits its report at least 120 days ahead of the date for local polls.   

The government, in its policy and program presented in parliament, had announced to hold local elections in coming Mangshir [November-December].

Prime Minister Oli accompanied by some ministers and top officials reached the EC office to consult the central election body with regard to holding local elections as announced by the government earlier.

Following the meeting, Minister for Law and Justice Agni Kharel said that after the government will complete its internal preparations required for holding the local poll, it will hold discussion with political parties and the election commission for fixing dates for holding the election.

He said that the prime minister held discussion with the Election Commission as per the government's plan for holding elections for all the three levels--local, provincial and federal-- under the new federal setup by mid-January, 2018.

However major political parties are sharply divided over the issue.

The major opposition party Nepali Congress and agitating Madhesi parties are strongly against holding elections before settling the dispute over proposed federal boundaries.

Also, a major ruling coalition partner CPN (Maoist Center) is reluctant to go to the local polls without first resolving the delineation dispute.

Though the government has announced to hold local polls in November-December, the commission is unlikely to complete its task of delineating local body constituencies and submit its report within the next five months. Balananda Poudel, chairman of the commission, said that delineating local body constituencies was a time-consuming process and it was not possible for the commission to sbmit its report anytime soon.

While the NC and other parties want to hold local polls based on the report of the commission, leaders particularly those from the ruling CPN-UML have been arguing that deferring the local polls under any pretext would further jeopardize good governance.

The local bodies are being run without elected political representatives for the last over one-and-a-half decades. It was 14 years back, when the last local elections were held across the country.

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