Parties one on holding local polls in new set-up

- Post Report, Kathmandu
In the three-party meeting on Wednesday, top leaders from the Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Centre) and the CPN-UML agree to announce the election date immediately

Dec 29, 2016-The major parties are inching closer to an agreement on holding the local polls in a new structure after the Nepali Congress, which was lobbying for conducting the election for the existing local bodies, gave a “positive signal” for shifting to the new set-up.

In the three-party meeting called by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Wednesday, top leaders from three major parties—Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Centre) and the CPN-UML—also agreed to announce the poll date immediately.

The main opposition CPN-UML had asked leaders of the NC and the Maoist Centre to go for the elections of restructured local bodies with the Local Level Restructuring Commission having prepared its report. According to Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the top leaders agreed to conduct the polls in a new arrangement.

NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba told the meeting that the largest party was prepared to go to the polls in either set-up. “President Deuba said the party was ready to participate in the polls in the new structure if the government takes the Madhesi parties into confidence,” Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel told the Post.

But Poudel himself has reservations over the issue. He said the restructuring report should be acceptable to all the forces. He suggested resolving disputes over the report first, claiming that local residents in many districts were not satisfied with the report.

In Province 2, technical committees under the commission had failed even to hold discussions at the local level. Deuba had aired similar views in a meeting of the ruling alliance on Tuesday. Madhesi parties had said the elections should be announced only after amending the constitution.

On Wednesday morning, a meeting of the Maoist Centre headquarters decided to announce the election date within a week by taking the Madhesi parties into confidence. The government reiterates that the local elections will be held by April next year.

The parties, however, could not find a way to end the obstruction of Parliament by the opposition parties. Leaders of the governing parties had urged the UML to allow the parliamentary business, proposing to take the amendment proposal and the election-related bills together. However, the UML was adamant that the amendment bill should be withdrawn.

“The amendment registered without consulting with us is unacceptable,” UML Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal told the media after the meeting. “We won’t stop our protest unless the bill is withdrawn.”

Parliament must resume its business for endorsement of the election-related bills. The opposition has been obstructing Parliament ever since the government registered the statute amendment bill on November 29. It was halted for the 11th time on Wednesday since then. The House is scheduled to meet on Thursday.

Published: 29-12-2016 07:56

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