Local polls possible only after December: EC

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 16, 2015-

Responding to the government’s announcement to hold the local polls within the fiscal year 2015-16, the Election Commission on Thursday said the vote could begin only after December.

The election authority said there are a lot of preparations to make for the polls. Although the EC is prepared to conduct the polls within 120 days of announcing the date, the task would be difficult before December due to weather, legal hurdles and logistics management, said Acting Chief Election Commissioner Dolakh Bahadur Gurung.

Concerned with the delay in formulating the law and budget allocation, the EC has urged the government to specify the timing of the election. Gurung laid out three requirements as political agreement, legal framework and funds.

In its policies and programmes, the government announced to conduct the local polls within the upcoming fiscal year. However, the budget has not set aside funds for the purpose. In view of holding the long-delayed local polls, the EC forwarded a draft of Some Nepal Law Amendment Bill-2070 to the government in April last year seeking its approval. The EC has no information about it since, said Gurung.

The bill proposes the nomination of at least 50 percent women candidates in Village Development Committees, municipalities and District Development Committees. During the 1997 local polls, a woman was mandatorily elected from each ward but there were no criteria for females’ representation.

The EC wants parties to field at least 50 percent female candidates. The move is thought to bring more than 100,000 women in leadership positions at the local level. Each ward committee of the VDC has five members and the proposed reforms require at least two of them to be women. Besides, key positions must be allotted to women alternatively with males.

The ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are for holding the local polls arguing that the presence of elected representatives in the local bodies will aid reconstruction of the infrastructure damaged by the April 25 earthquake. The opposition UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-centric parties, however, are not prepared for the polls. They argue that holding the election before the delineation of provinces would overshadow the issue of federalism.

Published: 17-07-2015 07:47

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