KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Top leaders of all major political parties including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba have expressed their commitment to holding parliamentary and provincial assembly elections on the scheduled dates.
They expressed such commitment at a meeting with the election commissioners on Friday. At the meeting, Prime Minister Deuba said the government and his party, Nepali Congress, are fully committed to holding the elections as scheduled in a free and fair manner. "The government and my party will fully support the commission to make the poll a success," the prime minister said at the meeting.
The commitment from the leaders has come at a time when speculations are rife that the government is conspiring to defer the elections in the context of the ruling CPN (Maoist Center) forging electoral alliance with the main opposition CPN-UML. The government and the Maoist Center are at odds over the home ministry, which is responsible for mobilizing thousands of security personnel for the elections. The ministry is currently held by Janardan Sharma of the Maoist Center.
The Maoist Center wants to hold on to the home ministry even though it has alredy forged electoral alliance with the UML. But the prime minister is reportedly trying to oust the Maoist ministers and give the home ministry portfolio to the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which is all prepared to join the government very soon.
During Friday's meeting, UML Chairman KP Oli, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal's presidium member Mahantha Thakur and CPN-ML General Secretary CP Mainali were present. They vowed to adopt all measures to make sure that the elections are held on the stipulated dates. The constitution requires that all elections must be held by January 21, 2018.
After their full commitment to holding the elections as scheduled, the leaders also expressed their commitment in writing to fully abide by the election code of conduct. "We are fully committed to respecting the election code of conduct -2017 that was prepared and issued after having rigorous discussion with us," reads the commitment letter signed by chiefs of all major political parties.
They have also urged all the stakeholders to do their best in implementing election code of conduct and support the election body to conduct the elections in a free, fair and credible manner.