President prods all parties to prepare for polls

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 5, 2016-

President Bidya Devi Bhandari has urged all the political parties to work towards ending the current stalemate over the constitution amendment bill for the sake of implementing the charter by holding the elections.

During an all-party meeting held at Sheetal Niwas on Sunday, President Bhandari advised the ruling coalition of the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress, the main opposition CPN-UML and the Madhes-based parties to work jointly on holding the three layers of elections. The constitution requires the local, provincial and federal polls to be held by January, 2018.

The President stressed that it was because of consensus among the political parties that the country had come thus far with the new constitution, according to Bhandari’s press adviser Madhav Sharma. Chiefs of all the parties represented in Parliament were invited to the meeting.

The government registered a constitution amendment bill in Parliament last Tuesday with an aim to address the demands of the Madhes-based parties, mainly over the provincial boundaries, citizenship, language and representation in the Upper House. This would be a second amendment to the constitution promulgated on September 20, 2015.

However, the amendment bill seems to have further polarised the political forces, with the UML objecting to the proposed reshaping of Province 5 and the Madhesi Morcha refusing to accept the bill in its present form. The UML has hit the streets and obstructed parliamentary proceedings demanding that the ruling coalition withdraw the amendment bill. Even the Madhes-based forces, which have consistently demanded amendments to the constitution ever since its promulgation, have refused to take ownership of the bill.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is learnt to have expressed his readiness to seek political consensus with the UML and the Madhesi Morcha for the sake of implementing the constitution.

“We are ready to consider amending the bill if that helps break the deadlock,” Sanghiya Samajbadi 

Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav quoted the PM as saying.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, the Madhes-based forces said they had apprised the President on the need for revising the bill. “We notified to her that the amendment bill registered by the government does not address all our demands,” Yadav said.

UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli reportedly told the ruling parties and the President that his party was fully committed to holding the polls.

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, Rastriya Prajatantra Party Executive Chairman Kamal Thapa and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi were among those present in the meeting.

Published: 05-12-2016 07:38

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