| June 23, 2017
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House panel tells govt to decide about local polls

KATHMANDU, Jan 28: Parliament's Development Committee has asked the government to make clear whether or not it is going to hold elections for the local bodies in the near future.

The parliamentary committee has directed the government to take a decision within the next 30 days whether it wants to hold interim elections for the local bodies or conduct local level polls only after settling the issues relating to delineation of the provinces.
Following a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) Kamal Thapa on Thursday, the committee directed the government and MoFALD to inform it within the next 30 days whether interim elections are to be held at the local level, which will be for one and half years, or there are to be full-fledged local elections under the new federal setup as envisioned in the new constitution.

In its six-point decision, the committee has stated that holding elections to the local bodies as soon as possible is indispensable as lack of representatives at that level has seriously hampered service delivery to the general public and is going to badly delay the task of reconstruction and rehabilitation to be carried out in the earthquake-affected districts.

The last polls to elect local representatives were held in 1997 for a five-year tenure. Since then, the local bodies have had no elected representatives and their offices are being run by a few officials and representatives of political parties, who take decisions on development and other activities through consensus.

The committee has directed MoFALD to initiate right from Thursday all the essential arrangements required for holding either the interim elections or the elections envisaged under the new federal setup, as this would be of help to the government in holding the elections.

"Likewise, we also directed the government and the ministry to set up the Local Level Reconstructing Commission within the timeframe stated in the new constitution and expedite the task of creating a base for implementing federalism," said Rabindra Adhikari, chairman of the committee. As per the new constitution, the government should implement federalism in the country at any cost by the next two years.

On January 14, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had told the heads of Kathmandu-based diplomatic missions and development partners of Nepal that the government was preparing to hold phase-wise elections for the local bodies within a matter of months, to ensuring smooth execution of reconstruction work.