The Kathmandu Post, Prithvi Man Shrestha, 3rd May 2017, Kathmandu
With nominations filed in three provinces—3, 4 and 6—the country on Tuesday headed to the first phase of local elections, first in two decades, scheduled for May 14.
Candidates in 34 districts of the three provinces are vying for 13,556 seats of 283 local units.
The Election Commission had allocated 10am to 5pm for filing nominations. Offices of election officers designated by the EC were chock-o-block with candidates and their supporters in all the districts where nominations were filed on Tuesday.
According to the EC, the nomination process in the districts concluded peacefully. “However, we faced some difficulties managing the nomination process, for some parties came too late to file nominations,” said EC Secretary Gopinath Mainali.
For instance, three major parties—Nepali Congress, CPN-UML) and CPN (Maoist Centre—arrived only at around 4:30pm for filing candidacies for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor for the Kathmandu Metropolis.
Earlier, there were serious doubts over polls, especially in view of the agitating Madhes-based parties’ stance and recent developments in the country.
An impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, Nepali Congress leader Bimalendra Nidhi’s resignation as the deputy prime minister and home minister and Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s decision to pull out of the government were some major developments that were seen over the past three days.
The agitating Madhes-based parties too have fielded their candidates, which also helped the nomination process conclude peacefully, according to an EC official.
The agitating Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (SSF-N) led by Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Nepal are jointly contesting the elections. Earlier, they were opposed to the elections. “We have decided to participate in local elections actively; our struggle will continue,” said Upendra Yadav, chairperson of SSFN.
The Rastriya Janata Party, which was formed recently after the merger of six Madhes-based parties, has not nominated candidates in the three provinces. However, it did not obstruct the nomination process.
“Our party did not obstruct the nomination process as the first phase of elections are taking place in those provinces where the RJP does not have its strong organisational base,” said RJP leader Sarbendra Nath Shukla. “We will participate in the second phase of elections if our demands are addressed. Otherwise, we will disrupt the second phase of polls,” he said.
The second phase of polls in four provinces—1, 2, 5, 7—are scheduled for June 14.
“The total number of nominations filed on Tuesday will be known by tomorrow,” said EC Spokesperson Surya Sharma.