Cabinet sets May 14 as local election date

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Feb 21, 2017-

The government on Monday announced to conduct the local level elections on May 14—after a gap of two decades.

The third Cabinet meeting held in the day took the decision to conduct the local polls in one go after the Election Commission agreed to the date proposed by the government, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal told reporters after the meeting. The local polls were last held in 1997.

The decision follows a long tug of war, infuriating the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, which had been pressing the government to pass the constitution amendment bill tabled in Parliament before declaring the elections. An earlier meeting of the Cabinet had decided to move the bill forward for parliamentary process.

“This is a historic day. 

The government is committed to completing the elections,” PM Dahal said after the 


Chiefs of the security agencies had assured the government that the security apparatus was capable of conducting the polls peacefully. The Madhes-based parties announced protest programmes shortly after the Cabinet decision on Monday evening. The Cabinet also decided that the Finance Ministry would release Rs10.29 billion for holding the elections as demanded by the election authority.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, PM Dahal and the ministers had consulted with EC officials to discuss whether the commission would be able to conduct the local level elections on the date.

EC Secretary Gopinath Mainali said the EC had earlier proposed holding the local polls in two phases—on May 15 and June 4. PM Dahal was under pressure from the main coalition partner Nepali Congress to conclude the local polls by the end of Baishak, the first month of the Nepali calendar, and hand over the reins to the largest party as agreed in a power-sharing deal between the two parties during the PM’s election last year.

Commissioner Ila Sharma said EC officials had accepted the proposal to hold the local polls on the given date. Another EC official present in the meeting said they have asked the government to provide the report of the Local Level Restructuring Commission on Tuesday and the remaining electoral laws at the earliest.

However, the Cabinet has given the taskforce formed to study the LLRC report one week to revise it. The Cabinet meeting in the morning decided to increase the number of local units in the Tarai focusing on the population density.

The first meeting also decided to begin discussions on the constitution amendment bill in the House as soon as the meeting of Parliament begins on Tuesday.

Cabinet Spokesperson Surendra Karki said the meeting decided to activate the Federal Commission to ensure the rights of Madhesis, Tharus, indigenous communities and women. The government also decided to transfer five secretaries and recommend ambassadors as that would not be possible after announcing the polls.

Published: 21-02-2017 07:52

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