Government, Election Commission agree to hold local polls on May 18 at one goAs Election Commission officials and the prime minister agreed on the date it will be formally announced through a cabinet decision soon.
After consulting Election Commission officials, the government is all set to call local elections on May 18.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was mulling over conducting local elections before May 19 before his meeting with the commission officials.
During the consultation on Tuesday, Election Commission officials led by Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya had proposed to the prime minister to hold local polls on May 18, Wednesday.
“Actually we had an informal discussion with government officials on holding the local polls on May 18,” said Dinesh Thapaliya, chief election commissioner. “Today, we formally agreed on the date.”
Earlier on Saturday, the coalition partners had decided to hold the local polls by mid-June.
Thapaliya said Prime Minister Deuba told election commissioners that he would announce the polling date from the upcoming Cabinet meeting.
He said the commission also informed the prime minister that there is no need to amend the election-related laws if the local elections are held before May 19 as they do not contradict the constitution.
On Monday evening, during his meeting with the new office bearers of his party’s Bagmati Provincial Committee, Deuba had told the leaders that he was preparing to announce the local polls on May 18 and directed them to make all necessary preparations accordingly .
“The prime minister told us that he is preparing to announce local polls on May 18,” said Raju Shrestha, general secretary of the Nepali Congress Bagmati provincial committee. “And he has directed us to make all necessary preparations for the polls.” He said the government will announce the polling date within a few days.
The newly-elected team of the Nepali Congress Bagmati provincial committee led by its chair Indra Baniya had met Deuba at Baluwatar on Monday evening.
Deuba is of the view that if the elections to the local bodies are held before May 19, the day the elected representatives complete their five-year term, the Local Level Elections Act 2017 need not be amended as suggested by some constitutional and legal experts.
The government had earlier held consultations with constitutional and legal experts in order to remove the ambiguities related to local elections in the constitution and the Act.
The Election Commission has also stated that it may need Rs 12 billion to conduct the local polls in a single phase. The commission has said the previous local polls held in three phases had cost Rs 8 billion and two million voters have increased in the past five years.