Postpone budget to hold polls in two phases, suggests UML

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Apr 24, 2017-

The main opposition CPN-UML has said it is ready to accept local level elections in two phases given that the government ensures that the annual budget is not presented before holding the polls. 

The constitution makes it mandatory to table the budget on May 29 (Jestha 15). Following the ‘verbal agreement’ with the dissident Madhesi parties, the Cabinet on Sunday decided to hold the second phase of the local level elections on June 14, a month after the first. This means, if the constitutional provision is followed, the second phase of election will be held 15 days after the tabulation of the budget in the Legislature-Parliament.

Fearing that the ruling alliance could cash in people’s sentiment, introducing populist programmes through the budget, the second largest party in the country has, however, asked the government to postpone the budget presentation. “We are ready for holding the second phase of elections before May 29 if necessary. As the government has scheduled it on June 14, an alternative day has to be looked to table the budget,” said UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, after the Parliamentary Party meeting on Sunday. He said that UML Chairman KP Sharma 

Oli had also suggested that to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. 

Postponing the Cabinet meeting, PM Dahal had gone to Oli’s residence in Balkot to seek his support on the government move. During the meeting, Oli expressed his reservation before the PM for not consulting the UML prior to taking crucial decisions on the polls and the constitution amendment. 

“The UML is always positive on elections. However, it cannot compromise on national interest through unnecessary amendment in the 

constitution,” Oli briefed the Parliamentary Party meeting about his talks with PM Dahal.

According to Dhakal, his party’s position on the amendment will be made public only after analysing the bill once it is tabled in Parliament. The UML has already expressed its serious reservation over the amendment to Article 86 (2) (a), barring chief and deputy chiefs of municipalities and rural municipalities (village councils) from being part of an electoral college that will elect the national assembly. 

The party has also said it is against forming Federal Commission and revising the provincial boundaries after endorsement by the Federal Parliament even before the formation of provincial parliaments. Both the provisions have been retained in the revised amendment bill.

Published: 24-04-2017 07:52

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