Ruling alliance political coordination committee meeting postponedThe meeting was to discuss elections among other issues after Dahal’s proposal to hold federal polls in April-May.
Thursday’s scheduled meeting of the high-level political coordination committee of the ruling alliance has been postponed until further notice.
The meeting, called for 4pm Thursday, was to dwell on among other issues elections of all levels.
Sources said the meeting had to be called off after CPN (Unified Socialist) leaders made a request citing their health.
“As far as I know the meeting was postponed due to Madhav Nepal’s health issues,” said Ramesh Malla, chief personal secretary of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). “The meeting will probably be held on Friday.”
According to some leaders, Jhalanath Khanal, a senior CPN (Unified Socialist) leader had asked Ram Chandra Poudel, coordinator of the coordination committee, to postpone the meeting because Madhav Nepal was not feeling well.
“I myself am having a fever and Nepal has yet to recover from Covid-19,” Khanal told the Post. “Situation is not favourable for meetings now.”
Chiranjivi Adhikari, personal secretary of Poudel, said the hectic schedule of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is also one of the reasons for the postponement of the meeting.
Thursday’s meeting was being followed keenly after reports that Dahal at Tuesday’s meeting had proposed holding federal elections in April-May and postponing local elections to October-November.
Dahal’s proposal has drawn sharp reactions from some political parties, especially the main opposition CPN-UML.
As per the regular calendar, local polls should be held in April-May and federal and provincial elections should be held in November-December.
The Election Commission has already proposed April 27 and May 5 for local polls, if they were to be held in two phases. Commission officials over the past week have told the Post that local polls must be held latest by April 27.
The Maoist Centre and CPN (Unified Socialist), two key partners in Deuba’s coalition government, however, have been saying that the polls on the commission-proposed date(s) are not possible. They have also cited ambiguities in the constitutional provisions and election laws.
Dahal’s proposal to hold federal elections in April-May and pushing the local polls to a later date has been criticised by the UML as well as some other ruling party leaders.
The UML says the proposal to hold federal elections in April-May is a conspiracy to postpone local elections.
Nepal held local elections in 2017 in three phases—on May 14, June 28 and September 18.
According to Section 55 of the Local Level Election Act-2017, the terms of local representatives elected in 2017 started from the seventh day of the election date.
As the first-phase local elections were held on May 14, 2017, the terms of the local representatives are deemed to have begun on May 20. Multiple experts and former election officials the Post spoke to over the last few days said the cut-off date should be May 20. Hence, new representatives must be elected by then so as to avoid a vacuum, regardless of the fact that second and third phases were held at later dates in 2017.
“The constitution we promulgated does not envision a vacuum at the local level,” Gagan Thapa, Nepali Congress general secretary wrote on Twitter on Thursday afternoon “So, any decision on elections that leads to a vacuum at the local level would be deemed unconstitutional.”