External Affairs

Candidates File Nomination Papers for Nepal Local Body Elections

Nepal to hold first local body elections in 20 years. Credit: Reuters

Nepali Prime Minister Prachanda. Credit: Reuters

Kathmandu: Candidates from various political parties in Nepal today filed nomination papers for the crucial local body elections which are being held after a gap of 20 years amid political tensions in the country.

Under the new federal structure, the local governments will have more rights and expanded powers.

Ruling parties – Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre) – main opposition CPN-UML and Rastriya Prajatantra Party are fielding candidates for the posts of mayor, deputy member and ward chairmen for Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Metropolitan City and Bhaktapur Sub-metropolitan City, the three cities that lie in the Kathmandu Valley.

The Election Commission will publish the final list of candidates tomorrow for 283 metropolises, sub-metropolises, municipalities and rural municipalities in province number 3, 4 and 6.

The first round of elections in provinces 3, 4 and 6 and the second round in provinces 1, 2, 5 and 7 will be held on May 14 and June 14 respectively.

Raju Raj Joshi, Vidya Sundar Shakya and Sarvottam Dangol have registered their names for the post of mayor from Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) respectively in Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

Hariprabha Khadgi from Nepali Congress and Rajaram Shrestha from Rastriya Prajatantra are the main contestants for the post of deputy mayor of Kathmandu.

Rastriya Janta Party Nepal, the major political grouping belonging to the Madhesi communities, however, did not field candidates for the first phase o the election.

The local level election is taking place across Nepal after a gap of 20 years.

The local body elections should have been held in every five years in Nepal. Due to political instability, they have been halted since May 1997.

Elections were held in 56 municipalities of Nepal in February 2006 under King Gyanendra but were boycotted by the major political parties and saw low voter turnout.

The nomination papers were filed amid political tensions in the country over an impeachment motion against the country’s first woman Chief Justice Sushila Karki.

The motion to impeach 64-year-old Karki was registered in Parliament on Sunday by two major ruling parties.

She was suspended on Sunday after an impeachment motion was registered against her by Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist-Centre), accusing her of “interfering” with the executive and issuing “prejudiced” verdicts.

Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, who heads the Nepali Congress, had tendered his resignation on Sunday, expressing his reservation over the decision.

The Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) today quit the Prachanda-led government over the move.

The RPP’s decision came as the ruling coalition struggled to secure a two-thirds majority to pass the Constitution amendment bill.

Some Madhes-centric parties have opposed the elections until the Constitution is amended to accommodate their views: more representation in parliament and redrawing of provincial boundaries.

(PTI)