-  Sunday 24 June 2018

Nepal Maoists want poll process deferred by 15 days

 -  IANS

Kathmandu, Jan 16 2008 - As the countdown to Nepal's ill-fated critical national election started, the Maoist party that had earlier opposed the exercise urged that the poll process be postponed by a fortnight.

Prachanda, chairperson of the once banned Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, that had prevented the crucial constituent assembly election from being held last November, has asked the multi-party government to put off by 15 days the implementation of the election code of conduct, which was to have been enforced from Wednesday.

The former guerrillas are asking for an additional 15 days on the ground that more time is needed to implement the commitments pledged by the government and their party last year, following which they decided to rejoin the cabinet.

The Maoists are asking for the reintegration of their guerrilla army with the national army, information about the whereabouts of hundreds of people missing during the 10-year insurgency after being arrested by security forces, and compensation for those whose kin were killed during the armed movement.

'We have drawn the government's attention to the demand,' said C.P. Mainali, chief of the United Left Front, a fringe left party that is a member of the ruling alliance.

'It is up to the government to decide what to do now,' Mainali told IANS,

However, by Wednesday, the government of Girija Prasad Koirala, known for its tendency to dawdle over decisions, had not contacted the Election Commission, creating fresh doubts about the possibility of the polls being held in April.

The Election Commission said on Wednesday that as it had not heard from the government, it was going ahead with the schedule.

The poll panel also formed a team to monitor if the code of conduct was being violated.

The Maoists' new call comes after the guerrillas returned to the government on Dec 31 after a patch-up and agreed to participate in the election.

Subsequently, April 10 was set as the new date for the ill-fated poll that has already been deferred twice and was originally to have been held in June 2007.

On Sunday, the Election Commission announced the dates for the enforcement of the poll code of conduct.

While the government and NGOs have to obey the code from Wednesday, political parties have to follow it after submitting the closed list of candidates for the proportional voting system.

The candidates themselves would come under the code after they have formally been registered.

The media would also have to follow the code once the election symbols are allocated.

The constituent assembly election, regarded as vital for the restoration of peace in Nepal, has been demanded for over 50 years but remained elusive.

The grandfather and father of the current king Gyanendra promised to hold the poll that would allow people to choose between monarchy and a republic and write a pro-people constitution but went back on their promise.

The Maoists fought a 10-year war demanding the poll but opposed it last year when their popularity had nose-dived and it seemed certain they would fare badly.

Source : IANS
© FRANCE NEPAL info

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