Nepal’s three major political parties agreed in principle on Tuesday to hold polls in order to implement the new Constitution, with the first step being the holding of elections to local bodies.
But the Madhes-based parties, which are opposing the Constitution, have not made their position clear at a time when the government has registered a bill in Parliament to amend the statute to address the demands of the people of the southern plains bordering India.
The fate of the amendment bill is in limbo due to the obstruction of Parliament by the main opposition CPN-UML party.
The Madhes-based parties been said elections to local bodies should be held only after the bodies are restructured on the basis of population.
The Madhes region accounts for just 17% of Nepal’s total area but it has more than 50% of the population but because of its fertile soil and plains.
If the local bodies are restructured on the basis of population, Madhes will have a larger pie in local bodies and the upper house, which is constituted by local representatives.
A meeting of top leaders called by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Tuesday decided to go in for elections to local bodies but remained silent on the status of the proposal to amend the Constitution.
Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML chairman K P Sharma Oli, the main opposition leader, attended the meeting and agreed to the hold of polls at an early date to implement the Constitution.
According to a constitutional mandate, Nepal should hold elections to local bodies, provincial assemblies and parliament by February 2018.
“I had a very positive meeting today with top leaders of two major political parties, where we agreed to go for local polls and my government is focusing on it,” Prachanda told a function in Kathmandu after the meeting.
“The focus of my government is to make the Constitution more acceptable to all, ranging from the mountains and hills to the plain,” he said. “My focus is also to strengthening national unity by bringing all on board.”
Deuba said the three big political parties had agreed to hold elections to local bodies according to the existing structure. Addressing a party event, he said, “Parties are bound to hold the local body elections in the old structures as part of the implementation of the Constitution. As the country has adopted federalism, there is no option but to hold elections at all three levels by February 2018.”