Nepal

Crucial bills

Sep 11, 2017
Working days of the Legislature-Parliament will be just over 45 days if the Election Commission declares the filing of nomination for candidates for the parliamentary and provincial elections by October 27, one month before the first phase election of the House of Representatives. Although tenure of Parliament will remain till January 21, 2018 its term will expire once the election of the House of Representatives is held before the final date as per the Article 296(1) of the constitution. The government has announced the dates of general and provincial elections for November 26 and December 7. It means that the EC has to announce the date of filing of nomination at least one month ahead of the general and provincial elections. The government has asked the EC to first announce the date of filing of nomination for the HoR and then the date of submitting a close list of candidates under the proportional representation system. The EC had made a tentative plan of filing nomination for the PR list before Dashain festival and First-Past-the-Post (FPtP) on October 22 and November 2 for the first and second phase of FPtP elections, respectively. But the EC is going to reschedule the dates of filing of nomination after the government’s advice.
 
The rearrangement of filing of nomination will put pressure on Parliament to pass the three polls related bills which include the elections of president and vice-president, National Assembly and local level. The two phases of local level elections were held and the third phase is also being held on September 18 without a law. These three bills are crucial as election of president and vice-president and a 59-member National Assembly cannot be held without them. The bill on the local level will also have to clearly differentiate the weightage of vote between the Pradesh Assembly member and chief/deputy-chief of the rural and urban municipalities who also constitute the electoral college of the National Assembly. Eight members of the National Assembly are elected from each of the Pradesh Assembly and three members are nominated by the president upon the recommendation of the council of ministers.
 
There are over three dozen bills under consideration in Parliament. These bills cannot be automatically transferred to the next Parliament unless they are tabled again by the government. The parliament has no option but to pass the most important bills at the earliest so that the EC can make preparations for filing of nominations for the FPtP and the PR system. The above-mentioned bills need to be passed at the earliest to give enough time for the EC to complete its election-related preparations. Some lawmakers have said that the election-related bills can be passed through a fast-track. But it is not that easy as it is said as the major political parties will stick to their guns on giving weightage of vote to the chiefs/deputy-chiefs of the local levels as compared to the voting weightage of the Pradesh Assembly members. Such pressing issues must be settled amicably at the concerned parliamentary committee. Time is running out for the political parties and Parliament to pass the bills for which political parties need to reach consensus.
 
Road safety
 
Seven persons died in a bus accident Saturday and 25 were injured when an ill-fated  bus bound for Kharanitar in Nuwakat from Kathmandu plunged 300 meters below the road. Given the rugged terrain such accidents are common and over the years many have died from tragic bus accidents. The bus had hit a house and completely destroyed it. Those travelling in the bus had been rescued by the squads of the Nepali Army, Nepal Police and the locals. The bus driver is reported to be absconding. It looks like the fault of the driver caused the accident.
 
However, traffic accidents occur on a regular basis because of the poor condition of the roads which were not made to accommodate the large number of buses plying on them. Now on the eve of the festival season when many people leave for home all the necessary precautions must be taken to make commuting by road safe. Overcrowding of the buses is also responsible for most of the road mishaps. Furthermore, speeding as well as landslides is also the cause of major bus accidents that occur very often in the country.
 
The Himalayan Times, September 11, 2017

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