KATHMANDU, Dec 19: Ruling parties have reached an understanding not to formally receive the report of the commission formed to restructure the local units under the federal system for the time being although the commission is working to finalize its report within a week.
During the meeting of the ruling CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepali Congress on Saturday evening with agitating Madhes-based parties, leaders urged Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to buy time with the commission and not to accept the report without reaching political consensus.
The ruling coalition reached the understanding as there are constitutional provisions which state that the existing local bodies would automatically go dysfunctional once the commission's report is published in the Nepal Gazette.
According to Keshav Jha, the general secretary of the National Madhes Socialist Party, Prime Minister Dahal briefed the Madhes-based leaders that the major three parties have agreed on holding the local elections but they have yet to discuss under what structure -- existing setup or federal setup -- the elections would be held.
During the meeting, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba had argued that local elections cannot be held under a new setup as the report submitted by the local technical committees to the local bodies commission itself has created disputes in various districts.
As the Madhes-based parties expressed concerns over including the village council chairpersons and vice chairpersons as well as municipalities' mayors and deputy mayors in the electoral college for picking national assembly members, and NC President Deuba argued that his party is ready to remove those provisions from the constitution through amendment but will not accept the 'disputed' report of the commission.
According to Jha, following the meeting, all the leaders present there asked the prime minister to buy time with the commission, which still has three more months left in its tenure.
"The members of the commission were scheduled to meet the prime minister right after our meeting so we had suggested to the prime minister to ask the commission to take time and start political dialogue to settle the issue," said Jha.
According to a commission source, Dahal during his meeting with the commissioners on Saturday asked the commission to delay the report.
However, commission member Sunil Ranjan Singh said that the commission is preparing to finalize the report by Wednesday. "We are working to finalize the report. We hope we'll conclude it by Wednesday and submit it to the government soon," said Singh.
He, however, said he had no knowledge about the prime minister's request to the commission to delay the final report. "I don't know what the prime minister said at Saturday's meeting. He can ask the commission to delay the report for some time but he cannot refuse to accept the report prepared by a constitutional commission," argued Singh.