House amends Local Level Election Act

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Jun 9, 2017-Parliament on Thursday endorsed a Bill to amend the Local Level Election Act-2017 in a bid to ease the process for the agitating Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal to participate in the second phase of elections scheduled for June 28. 

With the amendment to the Local Level Election Act-2017, parties now need not necessarily submit the names and signatures of officials to the Election Commission (EC) 15 days before the nomination filing date to get recognised by the poll body. 

Through the amendment, the Act now says “as fixed by the Election Commission” instead of “15 days before the nomination filing date”. 

The RJP-N, which is yet to commit to polls saying its demands still remain unaddressed, is yet to register itself with the EC.

As the EC’s calendar has fixed June 16 as the nomination filing date for the June 28 polls, the RJP-N or other parties not yet registered should have submitted the names and signatures of party officials by June 1. Since the RJP-N in particular has not done so, the entire exercise to bring the party on poll process would have been futile had the Local Level Election Act not been amended. 

The EC now will fix a new date, as per the amended provision, for submitting the list of names and signatures of party officials. 

After Minister for Home Affairs Janardan Sharma tabled the Bill to amend the Local Level Election Act-2017, it was passed by majority following clause-wise discussions. Prem Suwal of the Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party and Meena Pun from Rastriya Janamorcha had objected to the Bill. 

Pun demanded that there should be a guarantee that the dissident political parties will participate in elections before endorsing the Bill. 

In his response, Minister Sharma said the amendment was aimed at easing the participation of all political parties in the second round of elections.

In order to amend the Act, Parliament suspended Clause 127 (1) of the Parliament Regulations-2016, which requires 72 hours to register an amendment.

Nepali Congress Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha had tabled a proposal, seeking the suspension of Clause 127 (1). The proposal was seconded by CPN (Maoist Centre) Chief Whip Tek Bahadur Basnet. 

“Through the amendment we want to ensure the participation of all political parties in the second phase of local elections scheduled for June 28,” said Minister Sharma while tabling the Bill. 

For the June 28 polls, nomination has to be filed on June 16 and the final list of candidates will be published on June 19. 

With the development, the RJP-N now will get ample time to submit the names and signatures of the party officials to the EC so that it can be recognised by the poll body. 

But its leaders said on Thursday that they will come up with a decision on the party’s participation in the second phase of polls only on Sunday, as their other demands still remain unaddressed.

Published: 09-06-2017 08:02

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