Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal (center) discusses local elections with Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav (left) and other officials at the Election Commission office in Kantipath, Kathmandu on Monday.(Bijay Gajmer/Republica)
EC wants six months time
KATHMANDU, Aug 23: At a time when the ruling coalition partner Nepali Congress has been insisting on holding the local elections under the existing setup, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that local polls will be will held under the new local setup envisioned by the new constitution by mid-April, 2017.
During a meeting with the chief election commissioner and commissioners of the Election Commission (EC) at the EC office on Monday, Prime Minister Dahal asked the EC to carry out all the necessary logistical and other preparations for holding local elections in line with the new local setup.
"Let me make it clear to all that the local polls will be held as per the new federal setup and also for implementing the new constitution. So, I would like to request the EC to make the necessary preparations for local polls in the new setup," he said, adding that there was no alternative to holding local polls in the new federal setup by mid-April, 2017.
Prime Minister Dahal said that the government has asked the Commission for the Determination of the Numbers and Boundaries of Village Bodies, Municipalities and Special, Protected or Autonomous Regions to submit their reports by mid-October so that the government can hold local polls by mid-April, 2017.
The EC has said that the commission's report is prerequisite for holding local polls in accordance with the new constitution.
Prime Minister Dahal said that the government after reaching a political understanding among the political parties, will give a new term of reference (ToR) to the commission formed to restructure local units.
"The government is trying to forge a new understanding among political parties regarding the number of local units. We will reach an understanding soon, and direct the restructuring commission to work as per the spirit of the understanding. This will pave the way for holding local polls in line with the new constitution," he added.
As per the new constitution, local polls can be held only after restructuring the local bodies under the federal setup.
"Except in some exceptional cases, the wards of the existing local bodies will not be divided even as the bodies will be merged into village bodies and municipalities. So, I would like to ask the EC to start updating the voter list and make other preparations like recruiting additional manpower required for holding local polls," Prime Minister Dahal said.
Prime Minister Dahal said that the government would provide at least four months to the EC for making preparations to hold local polls by mid-April, 2017.
"There may be some delay in implementing the report of the restructuring commission. But I want to assure you that the government will give at least four months to the EC for the necessary preparations," he added.
At the meeting, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav had said that the EC needs at least six months for preparations if the government wants to hold local polls as per the new constitution.
Yadav had also said that the government should endorse all the necessary election-related laws forwarded by the EC on time apart from giving full shape to the EC.
The prime minister in reply said that the government will appoint commissioners and give full shape to the EC soon. Three commissioner posts are vacant at the EC.
He also said that the government will endorse all the necessary election-related laws on time for holding local polls.
He has also assured that of including a threshold provision also in the local polls.