Nepal

Election dates

Aug 24, 2017
A cabinet meeting held on August 21 decided to hold both the parliamentary and provincial elections at once on November 26, two months before the constitutional deadline of holding the three tiers of elections. Once the parliamentary and provincial elections are held the new constitution promulgated on September 20, 2015 will fully come into force as the first and second phase of local level elections have already been held and the third one in Province No-2 has also been scheduled for September 18. The parliamentary election for the 165 seats will be held on the First-Past-the-Post basis ensuring that the existing districts shall have at least one parliamentary seat and the remaining 110 seats will be held on the proportional representation system. The mixed election system will also be applied also for 330 provincial seats to be divided into seven provinces based on population and geography. The country cannot move towards the federal system without holding the three tiers of elections for local, provincial and federal parliament.
 
However, the Election Commission officials are still lobbying for holding the parliamentary and provincial elections in two phases – the first on November 20 and the second one on December 7 – citing adverse weather condition in the mountainous region and logistics complexities to arrange both the elections at one go on November 26. Earlier the EC had proposed holding the parliamentary and provincial elections in 31 remote mountainous and hilly districts, and the rest in the second round. It was fair on the part of the EC to lobby for holding both tiers of elections in two phases and the EC did its best to convince the government and the major political parties. But it sounds rather unconvincing as to why the EC officials are still publicly repeating the same line — holding the elections in two phases — even after the government, in consultation with the main opposition, took the  decision on holding both tiers of elections on November 26.
 
It may be recalled that the EC was ready to hold the local level election in a single phase on May 14. But the government later decided to hold the same in three phases, a government decision the EC agreed to. Now, the same principle applies this time as well. Constitutionally, it is the government which has the sole authority to decide on the date(s) of holding election as it needs to create a conducive political atmosphere for the same and to provide logistics support to the EC. Unless the constitution is amended giving the EC the right to declare election date(s) it has to abide by the government decision. The Janak Education Material Centre, which printed the ballot papers for the local level election, should be further bolstered so that it can do its business at short notice. What all must bear in mind is that elections cannot be held in Nepal after November due to chilling weather condition in the mountainous and hilly districts. The EC must also learn lessons; enhance its expertise and efficiency from the recently held local level elections. On the other hand, the government should also provide the EC with adequate resources and technical support to hold the elections within the fixed date.
 
Worth emulating
 
A garden made in a garbage collection centre in Dhankuta Municipality is making good money amounting to as much as Rs. three million per year. The garden has been made in the Salleri forest as a solution to the management of wastes collected from the municipality at a cost of Rs. 40 million over 30 ropanis of land five years ago by the municipality and the Local Development Ministry. The garden was made to deal with the foul smell emitted by the garbage which is now buried in the soil. This site has also now become a tourist destination.
 
This is a long-term solution for the management of garbage and the landfill site could manage wastes for the next 50 years. With 15 employees the municipality with two vehicles is managing ten tonnes of wastes every day. The municipality earns Rs. 1.5 million from its residents as sanitation charge and Rs. 1.6 million from the sale of the garbage. The degradable wastes are turned into manure while the non-degradable ones such as iron, wires, tin and glass are sold. From this endeavour locals of various other municipalities could do well to follow suit for managing garbage.
 
The Himalayan Times, August 24, 2017

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