KATHMANDU, Dec 15: While the major political parties are inching closer toward negotiations on holding local polls under the existing local setup, the government has registered a bill in Parliament to conduct the local polls under the new local structures.
The bill registered in Parliament by Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi has proposed holding elections for village councils and municipalities.
Article 303 of the new Constitution has provisioned the restructuring of local bodies and formulation of new laws for the election of local bodies after the restructuring of such bodies.
As the new Constitution only provisions federal, provincial and local bodies in state structures, the bill has dropped the election of district development committees.
However, the major political parties have intensified negotiations for conducting elections for the existing district development committees, municipalities and village development committees, as the task of restructuring at the local level is getting protracted.
The government, in the preface to the bill, states that 'holding elections for local units has become urgent for the implementation of the constitution'.
The bill on local polls has proposed barring any individual convicted of cast discrimination and the practice of untouchbility from contesting in local polls. The existing law only bars individuals convicted in criminal cases and in cases of moral depradation.
Though the Election Commission had sought the authority to announce the date of local polls, the government in its bill proposes vesting this authority in the government itself .
Meanwhile, the government has also registered a bill to replace the existing Elections Crime and Punishment Act. The bill has proposed an increment in the punishment for election-related crimes.
Both bills will mature for tabling in Parliament after five days of registration.