Parliament endorses two poll-related bills

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 26, 2017-The Legislature-Parliament on Wednesday endorsed two poll-related bills, paving the way for the government to announce the dates for local elections.

The Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to the Election Commission and the Bill Related to Voters’ List, which have been endorsed by the House, will come into effect once they are authenticated by the President. 

Out of nine Acts required to hold three levels of elections—local, provincial and central—-and conduct the elections of president and vice president, three are still under consideration at parliamentary committee. The Ministry of Home Affairs is working on four other bills. 

However, five Acts—two are set to come into force with their endorsement on Wednesday and three other bills that are under consideration—will be enough to hold local level elections. 

The government is planning to hold local level elections by mid-May and plans to announce the dates by January 28. 

The three other bills—Bill on Local Election Procedural Act, Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Political Parties and Bill on Election (Offence and Punishment Act)—are currently being finalised by the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of Parliament. SAC has been asked to table these three bills in Parliament by Friday. 

According to the Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to the Election Commission endorsed on Wednesday, the government in consultation with the EC can announce the dates for elections. 

In the draft bill submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs four months ago, the EC had proposed that the authority to announce poll dates be given to it. However, the proposal was changed by the ministry before the bill was tabled in Parliament. 

Similarly, according to the endorsed bill, the Ministry of Home Affairs is EC’s line ministry, which is also not in line with the EC’s proposal. The EC had proposed that its line ministry should be the Prime Minister’s Office, which is the case with other constitutional bodies. 

The soon-to-become Act also envisions that a candidate will be deemed ineligible to contest in election if the person was convicted of a criminal offence by a court in criminal charges and corruption, which also involves moral depravity. 

As per the constitutional deadline, the incumbent Parliament’s term will expire on January 21, 2018, and the country must hold all three levels of elections within next 16 months.

The Election Commission last week said that poll-related laws must be in place by the end of this month if local level elections were to be held by May. 

 

What will be in the Act (EC)

-    The government in consultation with the Election Commission can announce the dates for elections. The EC in the draft bill had sought the authority to announce poll dates

-    The Ministry of Home Affairs will be EC’s line ministry. The EC had proposed that its line ministry should be the Prime Minister’s Office, which is the case with other constitutional bodies 

-    A candidate will be deemed ineligible to contest in election if the person was convicted of a criminal offence by a court in criminal charges and corruption, which also involves moral depravity

Published: 26-01-2017 08:17

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