Prime Minister KP Oli has instructed the Election Commission (EC) to be ready to hold elections for local government bodies by the end of this year.
Accompanied by Home Minister Shakti Basnet, Law Minister Agni Kharel and Chief Secretary Somlal Subedi, PM Oli visited the EC office on Monday, and asked Acting Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav about the feasibility of organising local elections within the next six months.
Yadav said conducting local elections in December 2016 would be possible, as the EC does not require more than four months for preparations. However, he said some laws — most importantly, the Local Body (Election Procedures) Act — need to be amended in the next two months.
Yadav also asked Oli to complete the composition of the EC without delay, to facilitate election preparations. The EC, which usually has one Chief Election Commissioner and four commissioners, currently has only one commissioner apart from Yadav. The government has already recommended Yadav as the new Chief Election Commissioner, but the deferral in setting up of a Parliamentary Hearing Committee has also hindered his promotion.
PM Oli requested that Yadav begin election preparations, promising to amend the necessary legislation and appoint three commissioners at the EC promptly, according to the National News Agency.
The government had already decided to hold local elections by December 2016, provincial elections by May 2017 and parliamentary elections by December 2017. Law Minister Kharel said on Monday that the date for local elections will be announced ‘soon’.
However, the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) has threatened to boycott such elections, saying that it is not the right time to elect local bodies because a committee set up by the government is redrawing the boundaries of local administrative zones.
Madhesi parties have also refused to participate in local elections, saying polls must be held only after amending the newly promulgated constitution.
Although local elections are supposed to be held every five years, Nepal has not held any for the last two decades. Since 2002 — when district, municipality and village councils elected in 1997 were dissolved without new elections — cartels of unelected politicians and government officials have been disbursing money meant for local development, without any accountability to local people.Go back to previous page