Print Edition - 2017-04-15  |  News

Ruling parties for single-phase polls

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Dahal, Deuba and Thapa assert that elections will be held on May 14 even if the Madhesi Morcha refuses to participate

Apr 15, 2017-

Top leaders of the three ruling parties have agreed to hold local elections in single phase on May 14 even if the agitating Madhes-based parties refuse to participate. Negotiations, however, will continue, they said.

Prime Minister and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and DPM and Chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Kamal Thapa at a meeting on Friday decided to continue negotiations with the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) “till the last moment” but not to postpone the scheduled polls even if it refuses to participate. 

PM Dahal is learnt to have said during the meeting that the country is already in poll mood and that it is not possible to backtrack on May elections, which are taking place after two decades.

The reaffirmation from the top three leaders of the ruling coalition comes at a time when there are talks about polls in two phases in view of the Morcha’s refusal to participate even after the government introduced a fresh constitution amendment bill in a bid to address the agitating parties’ concerns. 

The government’s move of withdrawing the previous constitution amendment bill and registering a fresh one on Tuesday failed to impress the Morcha, which has vowed to step up protests and disrupt elections. Some Morcha leaders though have hinted at the possibility of an agreement, with just a month to go for voting, speculations have been rife that there could be a new decision on holding the elections in two phases.

On Thursday, Chief Election Commission er Ayodhee Prasad Yadav told the Post that the Election Commission “is ready to hold polls in two phases if the government decides so”. The agreement among three top leaders of the ruling coalition on Friday on single-phase elections could be a move to dispel the speculations. 

Later in the day, DPM Thapa, while speaking at an interaction in the Capital, told journalists that the governing parties are one on holding polls in one go. Interestingly, Thapa’s party, the RPP, itself is in protest against the EC’s decision of removing “Hindu state” and “monarchy” from the party statute. The country hence is facing two protests, though the reasons are different, just ahead of polls. 

“The government registered the new amendment proposal with the consent from the Morcha, but Morcha leaders have made a mistake by rejecting it,” said Thapa. “Morcha leaders should reconsider their decision; in the meantime talks with them will continue.” 

Informing about the meeting of the governing parties, Thapa said, “We have decided to hold polls in one phase at any cost—even if the Morcha refuses to participate.”

Published: 15-04-2017 08:07

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