By Our Reporter
Finally, the government has announced the dates of the local elections.
A cabinet meeting on Monday evening decided to hold the local elections on Sunday, May 14, 2017.
“The government has decided to hold the local elections on the same day across the country on Sunday, May 14,” Information and Communications Minister and spokesperson of the Nepal Government Surendra Karki told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
However, Karki did not say anything about the local units to which the polls will be conducted. The two main ruling parties have been divided as to whether the elections should be held for the new units recommended by the Local Body Restructuring Commission or the units created in 1992.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was compelled to announce the poll dates even without convincing the Madhes-based parties for the same. Main opposition CPN-UML and the ruling Nepali Congress were exerting pressure on him to announce the date polls. There had been news in the media that NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba told PM Dahal either to announce the poll dates or quit the post of Prime Minister. The UML leaders too were asking the PM to quit for failing to announce the election dates.
Of course, Dahal had become PM to amend the constitution and hold the local polls before vacating the PM’s chair for Deuba. But even six months after his appointment in the top executive post, he was unable to do these two things, which has drawn criticism not only from the opposition party and public, but also from the leaders of ruling coalition NC.
Now with the announcement of election dates, Dahal is likely to remain in power at least throughout May. He termed the announcement of election date as a historic decision.
The CPN-UML, NC and RPP have also welcomed the announcement of local polls. According to RSS, Bhim Rawal of UML, Ram Chandra Poudel of NC and RPP’s newly elected chairman Kamal Thapa welcomed the announcement of poll dates.
However, the Madhes-based parties which were demanding that the local polls should be held only after amending the constitution, have announced fresh protest programmes against the government’s decision to hold the local polls. A meeting of the United Madhesi Democratic Front held Monday decided to launch a fresh agitation including a bandh.
The government has also forwarded the amendment bill for discussion in a bid to convince the Madhes-based parties that the ruling parties were serious about the demands of the Madhes-based parties. Considering the situation prior to the Constituent Assembly election of 2013, it looks likely that the government will manage to hold local polls by mobilising police personnel. The Madhes-based parties which faced a humiliating defeat in 2013 CA polls cannot run away from local polls. But due to their diminishing popularity, they are likely to apply every measure to foil the elections.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers held Monday afternoon decided to forward the constitution amendment bill registered in the parliament. Likewise, the government has decided to increase the number of local units in Province-2.
With the announcement of the dates for local polls, the politics of Nepal has entered a new phase. No election was organised in Nepal since 1997 and local bodies were without elected representatives since 2002. People in general have expressed their happiness over the announcement of local polls stating that democracy is finally moving to their doorsteps.
Will local election be possible on May 14?
By Our Reporter