Govt amends poll law through fast track, RJPN unimpressed

Published On: June 9, 2017 12:50 AM NPT By: Republica


As per the deadline originally set by the Election Commission (EC), all political parties participating in the second phase polls must have registered the names of their representatives by June 2.
KATHMANDU, June 9: Parliament on Thursday amended a provision of the Local Level Election Act through a fast-track process, smoothing the way for the agitating Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) to participate in the second phase local polls scheduled for June 28.

With the amendment, any political party that  missed the deadline for submitting the signatures of its representatives for the purpose of candidacy nominations can now submit those signatures. As per the deadline originally set by the Election Commission (EC), all political parties participating in the second phase polls must have registered the names of their representatives by June 2.

The hitherto existing provision had stated that political parties must submit the signatures of their representatives  at least 15 days before the date for candidacy nominations. 

The amendment allows the parties to register names  within a deadline given by the EC.

As per the new provision, the EC will specify the number of days ahead of the nominations by which the political parties need to register their representatives. 

However, the RJPN appears unsatisfied still, stating that this amendment alone won't ensure their participation in the upcoming local level elections in the remaining four provinces. Local elections in the other three provinces were held on May 14.

"This amendment isn't sufficient for our participation because it was not our major condition," said RJPN leader Laxman Lal Karna. 

The cabinet meeting on Monday  decided to amend the law after the agitating RJPN demanded  amendment as one of the conditions for its participation in the local polls.

To endorse the amendment through  fast-track, parliament  first  suspended a provision in the parliamentary regulations that stated that lawmakers should be given 72 hours after the registration of a bill for registering any changes to it. The proposal to suspend the provision was endorsed by a majority. After a brief adjournment, a second sitting of the House endorsed the bill  amending the provision.

Lawmakers from some smaller political parties have, however, opposed the way the act was amended.

Prem Suwal of Nepal Workers  Peasants Party termed the decision  an undemocratic practice, saying, "amending a provision of law just to persuade a particular political group to join elections is inappropriate."

Meena Pun of Rastriya Janamorcha criticized the ruling parties for making changes in the law without even ascertaining beforehand that the agitating political parties would join the election process. 

Responding to questions, Home Minister Janardan Sharma said in  parliament that the government amended the election law with a view to ensure participation of all political parties in the election and to make sure that polls are conducted on  schedule. 


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