LLRC likely to submit report on ThursdayDespite reservations from the Madhes-based parties, the Local Level Restructuring Commission (LLRC) is preparing to submit its final report to the government by Thursday.
The Madhes-based parties have said they are open to the idea of holding local level elections under the existing set-up, provided that the government guarantees endorsement of the constitution amendment bill in Parliament with “necessary revisions”.
Some senior leaders from the ruling alliance are also making a pitch for holding local elections under the existing set-up, as restructuring of local units is yet to be completed.
Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato said the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, is ready to support local elections either under the current structure or new federal set-up. The Morcha, which after vacillating for days said on Saturday that it would support the constitution amendment bill if the government makes some revisions, earlier had said they would not participate in the elections.
The government, which registered the amendment bill on November 29, is planning to hold local elections by March-April. The main opposition CPN-UML, which is dead set against the amendment bill, is also making a pitch for polls at the earliest.
But the Madhesi parties say they doubt major parties’ intention.
“The Morcha wants the amendment bill to be endorsed through Parliament before the elections,” Mahato said. “The government seems to be using elections just as an excuse to avoid the amendment proposal. We will support the government to hold elections only if the amendment bill gets endorsed with some revisions. We cannot support the elections under the existing circumstances,” added Mahato.
Stating that polls are not possible without resolving the row over state restructuring, Mahato alleged that major parties are not doing enough to address the issue.
“In principle, we are in favour of elections. But we cannot accept polls unless our concerns are duly addressed. Major parties must work to address the dispute over boundaries if they are indeed serious about holding polls,” said Rajendra Shrestha, co-chairman of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, a constituent of the Morcha, which has strongly objected to the amendment bill, saying it does not address the minimum demands of the agitating parties.
Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, while addressing a function organised by Nepal Students Union (NSU) on Monday, said that the government would go for local elections under the existing structure in view of the constitutional deadline.Despite reservations from the Madhes-based parties, the Local Level Restructuring Commission (LLRC) is preparing to submit its final report to the government by Thursday.
The report will also include the LLRC’s blueprint for carving out local units in Province 2, which has eight districts, where the commission’s technical committees had failed to carry out its work, largely due to objection from the Madhes-based parties.
The commission is preparing to finalise 13 local level units each in Saptari and Dhanusha, 14 each in Mahottari and Bara, 11 in Parsa, 12 in Siraha, 15 in Rautahat and 16 in Sarlahi.
The LLRC, which had already compiled its technical committees’ reports on restructuring, was waiting for the reports of eight districts of Province 2.
After several failed attempts to start work in the districts and thereafter consult the Madhesi parties, the LLRC is finalising the report based on feedbacks from other parties.
Earlier the government had asked the LLRC to submit its final report by mid-November.
But the commission had sought one more month, as its technical committees were struggling to start work in the eight districts of Province 2.
The Madhes-based parties have entirely dismissed the criteria based on which the LLRC is preparing the blueprint for local units (village and municipal councils) whose number will be somewhere between 507 and 744. These parties have maintained that there is no point in carrying out local level restructuring without addressing the row over the provincial boundaries.
LLRC member Sunil Ranjan Singh said that restructuring of the eights districts of Province 2 had to be started despite non-cooperation from the Madhes-based parties, as the commission was running out of time. “We are in the final stage. We are preparing to submit the report by December 15,” he said. The restructuring of the local level is a prerequisite to hold local level elections that the government is planning to hold in mid-March. The Election Commission has already said that it will need at least four months after the restructuring of local units to prepare for local polls.