KATHMANDU, June 17: While some parties remain engulfed in internal disputes over the choice of candidates for the second phase local elections, some others are also still struggling to finalize a final list of candidates on the eve of candidacy nominations.
Candidates contesting local elections from Provinces 1, 5 and 7 have to file their candidacy nominations with the Election Commission on Sunday.
Besides the CPN-UML, no political party has announced a list of candidates for the 334 local units, including one metropolitan and seven sub-metropolitan cities, that are scheduled to go to polls in the second phase on June 28.
UML has decided to field Binod Dhakal as its mayoral candidate in Biratnagar metropolitan city and support the candidate of the Bijaya Kumar Gachhadhar-led Nepal Loktantrik Forum for deputy mayor.
The other parties, including Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Center), are yet to make their final lists public. NC and CPN (Maoist Center) leaders said their top leaderships are finding it hard to pick candidate names as there are simply too many aspirants. Ongoing efforts among the parties to forge electoral arrangements are also seen as a reason for the delays.
NC and Maoist Center leaders are still in negotiations to explore the possibility of making electoral adjustments for some key seats. Maoist Center spokesperson Pampha Bhusal said her party has nearly finished the task of selecting its candidates for almost all the seats. She, however, said the names would be published only before the filing of candidacy nominations. Stung by the internal disputes that emerged over ticket distributions in the first phase local elections, many parties are planning to disclose the names of candidates only on the day set for candidacy nominations.
Infighting between its three factions is said to be the reason behind delays at the NC. NC leaders said that party President Sher Bahadur Deuba has already finalized the list of candidates and is planning to announce it on Sunday. But the two factions led by senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel and Krishna Prasad Sitaula have made strong objections to the names put forth by the establishment faction.
Krishna Poudel, Nepali Congress chief secretary, said that candidates have been finalized for nearly all the seats. He, however, acknowledged that internal disputes over some seats were a reason behind the delay.
"The party has to pick one candidate out of the many recommended. So it's natural for there to be some disputes in the selection process," said Poudel.
Meanwhile, parties which have already published the names, including UML, Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Nepal Loktantrik Forum, are finding it hard to manage the internal grievances. In Kailali, disgruntled leaders and cadres of the Gachhadhar-led Nepal Loktantrik Forum padlocked the party office, accusing the central leadership of finalizing the names without consulting local leaders.