Ruling parties agree to reschedule elections,NC‚ UML at odds with UCPN-M over poll date

KATHMANDU: Nearly two months after the government unilaterally declared November 22 as the date for holding elections of new Constituent Assembly, the ruling Unified CPN-Maoist today admitted that it would not be possible to do so on the announced date.

The UCPN-M also proposed setting a new date for CA elections and discussing the disputed constitutional issues afresh at a meeting between UCPN-M, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML today. But the NC and UML rejected the UCPN-M proposal outright, insisting that the parties must first agree to form a national consensus government to discuss whether to go for fresh CA elections.

The UCPN-M proposed that the parties should first resolve the unsettled issues of the new constitution and that the CA could be revived to promulgate the constitution. The UCPN-M also proposed resetting date for holding polls for the new CA if the consensus efforts failed. The UCPN-M refused to quit the government prior to consensus on the issues of the new constitution, according to leaders taking part in the meeting.

Congress and UML leaders said they were prepared for fresh elections, either for a new CA or a new Parliament, to respect the Supreme Court’s November 25 verdict.

Though UML has already made its official stand public that the country should go for fresh polls, NC’s official stand is yet to be clear.

NC General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula, however, said his party also preferred to go for fresh polls. UML Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam said they stressed the need to form a national consensus government. “We clearly told them that the November 22 date announced by the government was unconstitutional and the UCPN-M’s new proposal of deferring the election date is yet another unconstitutional move,” said Gautam.

“The meeting concluded on a positive note with an understanding to review parties’ stances. We will hold formal and informal talks for a week before sitting for formal dialogue,” said Sitaula. Another NC leader, Ram Sharan Mahat, said new date for polls and discussions on disputed issues of new statute could only be started after a unity government was formed.

Ruling parties agree to reschedule elections

KATHMANDU: Leaders of the ruling Unified CPN-Maoist and United Democratic Madhesi Front today agreed to reschedule the date for holding polls for a new Constituent Assembly, but said the change would be made only if the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML desired so.

Besides CA polls, the ruling coalition partners also discussed issues related to peace process and some Madhesi journalists’ demand for inclusion in national media outlets, both in content and in the newsroom.

Irrigation Minister Mahendra Prasad Yadav, who is also the chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party, Nepal, said both sides agreed to change the date for CA elections, earlier announced for November 22, but only if NC and UML agreed.

“If the opposition parties do not agree to change the date, the government is committed to holding the elections on the scheduled date,” said Yadav, adding that the government would bring an ordinance to clear the legal hurdles for polls. The NC and the UML, he said, cannot run away from polls if they are democratic forces.

“On May 27, the only option that the government had was to declare fresh polls for the CA and nobody should take it otherwise,” Yadav commented. “Both sides also agreed to settle the issues related to the new constitution before changing the government.”THT

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