Prime minister says all outstanding issues will be sorted out through talksDeuba, in his address to the nation, says the House will resume through agreement.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said on Friday that the government has the responsibility of holding all three tiers of election within a year and urged all concerned to be prepared for the same.
“I would like to request all concerned to complete all preparatory works related to the elections,” Deuba said in his first ever address to the nation since assuming office for the fifth time on July 13 last year.
The prime minister also said that the House proceedings would be resumed through talks and agreement.
“Once the House resumes, all outstanding issues would be addressed through dialogue among the political parties,” said Deuba.
The 47-point address basically focused on the government's preparations to control the Covid-19 pandemic, availability of the vaccines and distribution and economic development, among others.
The Election Commission has proposed April 27 and May 5 as the dates for holding the local elections. However, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chair of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), a key coalition partner in the Deuba government, has stoked controversy by proposing parliamentary elections in April-May by delaying the local polls to a later date.
Dahal has argued that since the main opposition CPN-UML has not led the House function for the last few months despite repeated requests, it would be better to go for the polls in April-May to elect a new House of Representatives.
The UML has been obstructing the House proceedings, saying that Speaker Agni Sapkota failed to initiate action on the party’s decision to expel 14 of its lawmakers including Madhav Kumar Nepal as lawmakers.
Nepal and his group in late August split from the UML and formed a new party—CPN (Unified Socialist). The UML has accused Speaker Sapkota of facilitating the split in the UML.
The CPN (Unified Socialist) is also a coalition partner of Deuba.
In his address, which was delayed by more than an hour, Deuba also listed a set of things which he called his government’s achievements.
“There has been a remarkable improvement in economic activities since I came to power,” said Deuba.
Economic indicators, however, tell a different picture. The country’s imports have surged in the first six months of the current fiscal year starting mid-July, exactly the time when Deuba assumed office, and has surpassed the Rs1 trillion mark. Inflation has hit a 64-month high of 7 percent. According to Nepal Rastra Bank, the country’s foreign exchange reserves have depleted massively, largely due to suring imports and falling remittance inflows.
The prime minister also claimed that his government has been successful in its vaccination drive against Covid-19.
“The government has made significant efforts in saving the lives of people from the coronavirus,” said Deuba. He said that 65 percent of the total targeted population.
“Of the 11,922,164 eligible people (18 years and above) for the vaccine, 65 percent have received full doses,” said Deuba. “And 78.3 percent of them have received at least one dose.”
The prime minister also gave an update on the vaccines.
“So far we have received 40,388,840 doses of vaccines,” said Deuba. “And 27,475,995 doses have been administered.”