Publish ‘minority’ list, EC asks govt

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Mar 25, 2017-

The Election Commission (EC) has written to the government asking to determine and publish the list of “minority communities” whose representation must be ensured at the local levels.

The constitution has a mandatory provision that representation of “minority communities” or Dalit should be the part of new local levels. As the local level elections draw closer, the EC has requested the government to fix the list of communities so that it will make easy to ensure their representations once local polls are over.   

The Local Level Election Act-2017 states that the government should define the minority communities by publishing a notice in Nepal Gazette as mentioned under Article 306(1a) of the constitution. The article has defined ‘minorities’ as ethnic, linguistic and religious groups whose population is less than the percentage specified by the Federal Law, and includes groups that have their distinct ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics, aspirations to protect such features and subjected to discrimination and oppression. According to a senior official at the EC, it has been a month since they had written to the Home Ministry, the contact ministry for the election body, asking the latter to determine minority communities. “It is better to determine such communities soon which will ease selection of candidates from those communities,” said the EC official.

The constitution stipulates that there should be at least three representations either from Dalit or minority community in each municipality and at least two representatives in each village council. They are elected by the members of village and district assemblies. And the district assembly, which is formed by the elected representatives of village and municipal assemblies, should elect at least one person from Dalit or minority communities. The provision means the Dalit and minority communities will have a total of 1,826 representatives in all the village councils, municipalities and district assemblies across the country.

However, the government has yet to decide on who should be called the minority communities. Home Ministry Spokesperson Balkrishna Panthi said that they were working on criteria for determining the minority communities. “It may take some time,” he said. 

With elections set to be held for 36,639 posts in 744 local units, excluding district assemblies, guaranteeing the Dalit or minority groups a total of 1,751 posts in village and municipal councils. 

Representation of Dalit or minorities

Local units     Representatives                                          

Municipalities (243)    789    

Village Councils (481)    962    

District Assembly (75)     75

Published: 25-03-2017 08:35

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