Race to the end

  • Lawmakers yet to pass important legislation, even as Dasain will make Parliament inactive

Sep 18, 2017-The third phase of the local election is being held in Province 2 today. Observer groups have said that the campaign period was largely free of violence and intimidation. It is to be hoped that the rest of the day will also proceed without event. Elections in Province 2 are an event of substantial significance, as it marks the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal’s (RJPN) entry into the political process. The RJPN had until recently refused to participate in elections unless its demand for a constitution amendment was met. It is to be hoped that the subsequent elections will see the Madhesi populations’ further entry into the mainstream political process. Of course, the underlying issues remain to be resolved. After elections are held, the government will have to take further steps to address the concerns of the Madhesi population. The form of accommodation will most likely be determined by the outcome of the elections. It is partially for this reason that the RJPN and the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal are particularly invested in these elections.

However, this stage of the local elections is only one step in a long electoral process. The government has a lot of work to do immediately afterwards. First of all, there are numerous pieces of legislation that need to be passed. Two bills relating to the elections of the National Assembly and the President and Vice-President have been registered in Parliament. There is not much time remaining for these to be passed. The Election Commission has announced that candidacy registration for federal and provincial elections will be held on October 22. Parliament will become defunct a day prior and will be revived only after the election. Furthermore, the Dasain festival is approaching, which means that Parliament will soon become inactive. It is therefore essential that the government pass the pending legislation very soon, preferably before the holiday season.

It would also be ideal if the government could deal with other legislation as soon as possible. An amendment to the transitional justice legislation, meant to bring it in line with the Supreme Court decision of 2015 and international standards, remains to be passed. This has caused serious problems in the functioning of the transitional justice bodies, and led to increased anguish for victims’ families. The government should bring this Bill before Parliament as soon as possible.

There are also a number of other issues that need to be resolved immediately at the political level. For one, the structure of ballots for the provincial and federal elections have yet to be decided. Such issues need to be resolved in a timely manner so as to allow the Election Commission adequate time to prepare for the elections in November and December. 

Published: 18-09-2017 07:00

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