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Fate of second phase election uncertain

By Our Reporter
chunabAlthough it is now almost sure that the first phase of election will be held in the scheduled date of May 14, as an election friendly environment has already been in place, the fate of the second phase local poll looks uncertain.
The government, which had earlier decided to hold the local polls in a single phase on May 14, decided to hold it in two phases with a hope of bringing the agitating Madhes-based parties on board the election by endorsing the newly registered amendment proposal. However, the latest political development in which the parties have been divided further over the impeachment motion registered in the parliament against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, is not in  favour of amendment.
When the CPN-UML, the main opposition party, has opposed the amendment bill, voices from the experts of the constitutional law and others that the present parliament has no right to amend the constitution is becoming stronger.
Former chief justices of the Supreme Court, legal experts and others claim that the present parliament created for the transitional phase lacks right to amend the constitution. Former chief justice Krishna Jung Rayamajhi in an interview with a daily strongly opposed the move being made to amend the constitution stating that it would be against the constitution and international practices.
Again, any amendment which is opposed by strong opposition looks impossible and impractical. Moreover, the ruling coalition lacks two-thirds majority required to amend the constitution.
Earlier, on May 2 the government had prepared to endorse the amendment bill, but it later decided to postpone the parliament meeting when half a dozen of lawmakers from RPP and a few influential NC leaders went missing from Kathmandu. As such, there is slim chance for endorsing the amendment bill in near future, and the Madhes-based parties have been reiterating that they will boycott and disrupt the poll if it is held without amending the constitution.
In the four provinces, where the local election is scheduled for June 14, the Madhes-based parties, six of which were recently united as Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, have their organisations, and they can disrupt poll in the southern plains.
Although a division between the Upendra Yadav-led  Federal alliance and RJP has become visible in recent weeks with the parties united under the RJP ousting Yadav as the coordinator of the alliance, the division will not be enough to weaken the presence of Madhes-based parties, especially in Province-2.
However, the Yadav-led alliance which is contesting the first phase election in Kathmandu and Pokhara Metropolis is likely to participate in the second phase election to be held in province 1,2, 5 and 7  even if the constitution is not amended.  Though Yadav on Monday announced in Birgunj that his party would not let the government to organise the second pahse election without amending the statute, it is not sure whether he will keep his words until June 14. But other six parties are almost sure to boycott and disrupt the poll if it is held without endorsing the amendment bill. But as said above, there is little chance to amend the constitution as desired by the Madhes-based parties, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Kamal Thapa. Hence, the fate of the second phase of local poll looks uncertain.

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