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Faint praise from US

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
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A day after the UK ‘welcomed the commencement of local elections in Nepal’ but refused to ‘comment on the (election) process’, the US on Tuesday ‘recognised the efforts’ in conducting the first phase of polls.

In what seems to be a grudging press statement, the US embassy in Kathmandu said: ‘We recognise the efforts of all stakeholders in conducting what appears to have been a largely peaceful and broadly-supported first round of local elections.’

The US reiterated a line from the UK embassy’s statement: ‘We strongly encourage the Government of Nepal to permit unrestricted international election observation during the second phase of local elections, in order to enable the international community, including accredited diplomats, to observe and offer support to the outcomes of the election.’

Sources say diplomats in Kathmandu had approached the Election Commission (EC) for permission to travel outside the Kathmandu Valley to observe elections. But the EC declined, allowing them to watch (not observe) elections only inside the valley.

“We provided liaison officers for diplomats to go around and watch election activities in Kathmandu,” an EC official told Nepali Times. “But remember: they were just allowed to watch and not observe, meaning that they would not need to report to us.”

Now, diplomats want permission to observe the second phase of local elections, which will take place in four provinces on 14 June. But the EC says it will not give permission for outsiders to observe elections in the second phase.

Both UK and US governments have urged the government to create a conducive environment for the second phase, which is code for saying that the Constitution must be amended before the second phase.

However, China has wholeheartedly welcomed the first phase of elections.

India, which has not welcomed Nepal’s new Constitution under which these local elections – the first in 19 years – are taking place, has remained silent. However, a report in the Hindustan Times says that new Indian ambassador to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri, has told Madhesi parties to not pursue an amendment to the Constitution and to take part in the second phase.

The report reads: ‘Indian diplomats in Kathmandu have told Nepal’s Tarai leadership to drop the demand of changes in the Constitution and participate in the second phase of local elections scheduled next month, a move being seen as a dramatic U-turn on a policy crafted over two years’.

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4 Responses to “Faint praise from US”

  1. Arun Khadka on Says:

    I do not understand why Nepali Times has to report on this. The legitimacy of Nepal’s election is not on the hands of election observers from distant countries but lies on the people of Nepal, who are well capable to determining if this was a fair election. From my limited wanderings on the web and talking to family members and friends, by in large this was indeed fair.
    I think the issue with the international community is not the fairness but the “not enough meddling in others business” which they could not do here is their biggest gripe. I hope the election commission does the same for the second phase.

  2. Anupam on Says:

    It has been seen that the local election held peacefully and above all fairly. Same will happen in the second phase unless disgruntled parties play mischief. It is up to us to deal with our constitutional issues at the time of our choosing and process, IF at all. Neighbour, in cohort with western powers, should stay-back breathing down our neck. You all have been meddling long enough in our affairs. You all have burning issues in your own backyard to deal.

  3. Anonimous on Says:

    True. A strong Nepal is helpful to India and with OBOR signed a panorama view not just indian sattelite is actually why thry kill the press. Independent observers. Welcome .

  4. tsjo on Says:

    don’t you see … everything has been faint there with the arrival of new president?!

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