Candidacies filed despite protests

June 19, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, 19 June 2017

The candidate nomination process for the second phase of local level elections concluded on Sunday amid a general strike announced by the Sanghiya Gathabandhan across the plains.The government had tightened security to contain anti-election activities. 

The Election Commission had set 8 am to 4 pm as the nomination period for the polls scheduled to take place in 334 local units of provinces 1, 5 and 7 on June 28. Elections will be held in one metropolis, 7 sub-metropolitan cities, 111 municipalities and 215 village councils.

Candidates of various political parties reached the election offices with their supporters to file the nominations. Tolerating scorching heat in the Tarai districts, party supporters stood by their candidates in large numbers.

“We are excited about the local elections as they are going to be held after 20 years,” said Raju Shrestha of Chandrakot Village Council-4 in Gulmi district.How many candidates are in the fray was not clear as of Sunday evening. The EC reported around 21,000 candidates by 7 pm. Some parties forged alliances to contest the elections in several local units including in Biratnagar and Butwal.

In Dadeldhura, the home district of Prime Minister and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, eight disgruntled Nepali Congress activists filed their nominations by challenging the party’s official candidates in several local units.Rebel candidates entered the fray for various posts in Ajayameru and Nabadurga village councils and Amargadhi Municipality.The elections will be for seven positions including the mayor and deputy mayor of municipalities, chairperson, and vice-chairperson of Village Councils and ward chairperson and four ward members including two women.

In Nawalparasi, the nomination process was over without obstruction. “Some village councils have been deemed ‘sensitive’ and ‘highly sensitive’ from the security viewpoint,” said Chief Election Officer Kailash KC.A total 15,038 representatives will be elected from the second phase of local elections. As many as 6,432,765 voters will exercise their franchise.

Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav remarked that the nomination process was encouraging. “Hardly any impact of the general strike in the Tarai was seen in the nomination process,” he said. Surya Sharma, spokesperson for the EC, said the success of the nomination process indicated that the June 28 vote would be held without much trouble as “the people want elections”.

The government has postponed the polls in Province 2 until September 18 to accommodate the agitating forces including the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Janajati groups united under the banner of Sanghiya Gathabandhan.The candidate nomination date was postponed by two days, with an aim to give the protesting parties an opportunity to join the poll process.