General

Local body polls in April: Thapa

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 1, 2016-Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Kamal Thapa has said that the government is preparing to hold local body elections in April.

“We are preparing to hold the local polls with the advent of the Nepali New Year [mid-April],” Thapa told a press conference on Sunday. “All the ruling parties are committed to it.”

Thapa added that the government would hold discussions with the main opposition Nepali Congress and other political forces on the matter. “The NC is currently busy with its general convention so we will wait until it is over,” he said.

Elections of the local government units—Village Development Committees, municipalities and District Development Committees—were last held in 1997. After their term expired in 2002, civil servants have been heading the local offices under a regulation drafted in 1998 as a transitional measure.

On Friday, the parliamentary Development Committee had directed the government to hold election of the local bodies at the earliest. The Committee had also asked the government to decide within 30 days if it will hold the elections as per the transitional provisions of the new constitution or under the normal condition of implementing the newly adopted constitution.

Minister Thapa also defended the government’s decision to add new municipalities in the country amid criticism that the new constitution provisions a separate commission to determine the number and borders of Village and Municipal Councils (equivalent to the existing VDCs and municipalities).

“The commission is meant for restructuring the state into three levels—federal, provincial and local. But we are simply adding new municipalities under the present structure, and not restructuring the state altogether,” Thapa said.There are one metropolitan city, 12 sub-metropolitan cities, 204 municipalities and 3,157 VDCs.

Published: 01-02-2016 09:01

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